- December 14, 2012
Constituent Assembly Statement on False Claims Regarding Draft Constitution
The Constituent Assembly (CA) tasked with drawing up Egypt’s first post-revolution charter is dismayed at the ferocious vilifying campaign and blizzard of lies aiming to throw doubt on the draft constitution and the CA’s members elected from the full spectrum of Egyptian society for the first time in the history of constitution-making in Egypt.
Certain political figures made false allegations about the text of the Constitution and the elected CA members. These allegations are part of the political strife in Egypt today, but they certainly are totally baseless, unfounded on any real evidence. The CA urges all political parties not to let political differences cloud their judgment of the draft constitution.
Over the past six months, CA members devoted their time and effort and worked day and night to draw up a draft constitution befitting for the people of Egypt. Indeed, all CA members participated in this effort, even those who withdrew just before the vote on the final draft.
The CA rejects allegations that its members represent a single political trend. The irrefutable truth is that the full spectrum of Egyptian society did take part in drafting at all stages of the preparation and writing of the Constitution. Yet some were determined to make blind accusations with no proof whatsoever and no basis in truth, claiming the new charter has problems it most certainly does not have.
Some charged that the constitution would lead to a state of instability, while the vote on the constitution will surely end the instability that has prevailed throughout Egypt for two years, and will draw a clear road map, and then continue immediately to complete the rebuilding of democratic institutions, if approved by the people through the ballot box.
On the other hand, if the new charter is not endorsed by the people, a new CA will be formed within 3 months, by direct election, and will draw up a new draft constitution within six more months.
Some public figures made allegations that the Constitution has alienated Sharia and religion. This simply means that they never read its articles. In fact, Article 2 declares Islam as the State religion, and the principles of Islamic Sharia as the main source of legislation.
Meanwhile, some others rolled out fables and fabrications claiming that the Constitution ignores the dignity and rights of women, while Article 9 of the Constitution explicitly mentions that the State is committed to providing equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination.
Moreover, Article 10 affirms the right of women to work and ensures that the state guarantees mother and child health care services free of charge, and reconciles the duties of women towards her family and her work.
Furthermore, some politicians claimed the draft Constitution does not safeguard human rights, whereas all charter articles safeguard human rights and prohibit the detention of any citizen unless there is definitive evidence and judicial permission, while ensuring their right to a fair trial.
The Constitution further emphasizes that the citizen’s freedom of expression and creativity are completely guaranteed, and that every citizen has the full right to access and obtain information from government agencies.
Additionally, Article 80 of the draft constitution states that every violation of any of the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution is a crime that is not subject to criminal and civil lawsuit limitations.
Also, one leader claimed that the draft Constitution forces children to work, while the fact is that Article 70 prohibits child labor before the age of compulsory education; and states that children may not be employed in any work incompatible with their age, or work that would prevent them from continuing their education. Moreover, Article 64 prohibits the imposition of any work on any citizen by force.
Some falsely claimed that the Constitution allows the trial of civilians before military courts, while Article 198 states that no civilian is to be tried before military courts except in crimes against the armed forces, and the law is to define those crimes.
The vilifying campaign extends beyond reason and logic, claiming that the Constitution gives the President dictatorial powers, while the truth is that articles of the Constitution reduce the powers of the President, and stipulate that the government the President forms must win the confidence of Parliament, and that the President must resign if people reject the dissolution of parliament in a referendum.
Furthermore, the President cannot declare war without taking the opinion of the National Defense Board and the approval of the House of Representatives by a majority of members.
Some went to the extent of calling for Egypt to go back to the constitution of 71 – which the Egyptian people erupted in their January 25 revolution to change – instead of the new Constitution written by the people after full interaction and discussion with and feedback from all segments of society during a full six-month period.
Finally, the Constituent Assembly demand honesty and fairness from politicians who have fiercely attacked the draft constitution. It also urges the Egyptian people to ignore the campaigns of confusion and misinformation, to read the draft Constitution for themselves, with clear minds and consciences, and to go to the polls to cast their ballots freely, without any outside influence.