120 MPs Reject Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Egyptian opposition parties and groups declared their rejection to the constitutional amendments proposed by president Hosni Mubarak last December, and called on voters to reject them when they are presented in a referendum.

The Muslim Brotherhood group, the bloc of independent MPs and parties of Wafd, Karama Party (under construction) said in a statement read by Wafd Party leader Mahmoud Abaza in a press conference that the opposition ” confirms that the new wording of article 88 cancels the judicial supervision over the voting process in the general elections”.

This comes as a reaction to the approval of the committee of constitutional and legislative affairs in the People’s Assembly last Tuesday to a semi final wording of the suggested amendments concerning article 88 of the constitution that states ” establishing a high independent and neutral commission that shall undertake the supervision of the elections as prescribed by law, given that its members shall include current and previous members from judiciaries” .

It is worth mentioning that the current wording of article 88 stipulates holding the elections of the People’s Assembly under a judicial supervision.

The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled in 2000 that the general elections must be held under a full judicial supervision.

The opposition and civil society organizations demand keeping the full judicial supervision as it is the best method for preventing violations that mar the voting in Egypt.

Muslim Brotherhood Garnered More Seats

Analysts see that the judicial supervision on the 2005 elections of the People’s Assembly was behind the rising number of seats garnered by the Muslim Brotherhood group to 88 seats in the Assembly compared with the 17 seats garnered during the previous elections.

The statement considered that the proposed amendment for article 179 ” End the constitutional guarantees for the personal freedoms and paves the way for establishing a state of the police”.

The new wording of this article paves the way for enacting an anti-terrorism law to replace the state of emergency which has been declared since president Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981.

The newly suggested wording states obstructing the constitutional guarantees for personal freedom against detention, searches, imprisonment, restricting freedom or preventing movement, unless there is a necessity decided by a judge or an investigation held by the public prosecution holds.

The new wording allows the security authorities to enter houses and ransack them without a justified judicial ruling, and it stops the legal protection to the sanctity of private lives and allows reading letters, telegrams and wiretappings.

The main opposition parties and groups said in their statement that they reject the amendment of article 179 that includes allowing the president to refer civilians to a military tribunal.

The proposed amendment to the article states that: ” The president has the right to refer any terrorist crime to any judicial authority prescribed by the constitution or law”.

Discussing Amendments

The People’s Assembly is scheduled to discuss the constitutional amendments next week, and it isn’t expected to introduce substantial amendments to them.

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