Ibrahim Darwish: Mubarak Jr. Is Coming
|Monday, February 26,2007 00:00|
|By Mohamed Al-Behery, Al Wafd|
This interviews has been conducted by fellow journalist Mohamed Al-Behery of the Egyptian Al Wafd newspaper with the Egyptian legal expert, Dr. Ibrahim Darwish, in which he confirmed that the proposed constitutional amendments aim at eradicating the Egyptian opposition powers, that the process of Tawreeth (hereditary transfer of rule from Mubarak Sr. to Mubarak Jr.) is on the final touches and that Gamal Mubarak’s rule to Egypt is coming soon.
* Al Wafd: What made the regime lodge a proposal to amend 34 articles of the constitution; is this related to any foreign pressure or domestic rejection, or is it the issue of Tawreeth which is confirmed by some people and ruled out by others?
- Dr. Darwish: Before Jan. 2003, speaking about the constitution was totally rejected; throughout his 22 years of his rule (before 2003), president Mubarak has been confirming that the constitution is a red line.
However, in a speech delivered by Colin Powell in mid January 2003 which was delivered not only because Powell was the US State Secretary, but because he was the representative of the US administration, as it was delivered ahead of US President Bush delivered the State of the Union Address.
In this speech, Colin Powell demanded the Middle East countries to carry out substantial changes, adopt democracy and to make changes in their regimes; thus, began the staggering among the Arab political regimes; some of them understood his message, some did not understand, others neglected and others did not understand that the message was meaning in the first place Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
To all those who did not understand, the United States continued sending its messages whatever the motives for or against the Egyptian interests; on the other hand, there was a hesitation in accepting the messages until some domestic incidents took place in Egypt and some health problems that made the president leave for Germany to have treatment in Germany and he mistakenly issued a decree of authorization of power to the Prime Minister; I was the first one to write about this mistake; the decree of authorization of powers was cancelled after one day.
Later on, there was a gradual public appearance of Mubarak Jr. according to premeditated plans, dubbed the new thought, which is actually reloading the roles of the Socialist Union by other persons, not an extra.
At this point, the old guard began to feel worried, specially after the arrival of the new cunning entourage of Mabarak Jr. Unfortunately, everything which was previously denied by the regime, is now established on the ground. Mubarak Jr. is coming .. Mubarak Jr. is coming. He got rid of a big part of the old guard; the only ones who remained are the ones who surrendered and showed their loyalty and devotion.
Mubarak Jr. speaks as if he is the president… orders the Prime Minister and ministers as if he is the president; he meets presidents as if he is the president and he went secretly to America last year.
All these foreign and domestic factors forced the one-party regime to change its attitude towards the constitution; it canceled the full ban on Feb., 26, 2005 in a wonderful dramatic theatrical show and suggested amending article 76 which moved from bad to worse as it gave more power to the ruling regime and made it impossible for all political powers to field presidential candidates, and it conflicted with a previous article, article 68, and conflicted with a following article, 175; this current article 76 was proposed by president, ratified by the People’s Assembly, and was devised by the president’s followers, but the People’s Assembly never devised it.
What is currently taking place is a reloading of what happened in 2005 in the People’s Assembly; and I wonder: Where do you devise the 34 articles?; it is a doublage process, in which some persons were summoned to speak about these amendments, called: the hearing committee; the television is manipulated to praise these amendments, while the regime vetted writers and experts appear to explain them and justify their necessity in methods which are rejected by any reasonable person. During these critical moments, the amendments are currently devised to give more power to the ruling regime.
See these amendments... You in Wafd Party, for example, suggested not holding a referendum over dissolving the People’s Assembly and making the decision of dissolving it up to the president after demanding the opinion of the speakers of both chambers of parliament... Can the Prime Minister or People’s Assembly speaker or the Shura Council speaker oppose the president and say no?
* Al Wafd : When Al Wafd offered the amendments, it took into consideration that the referendum is nothing but a normal result, and this was a legacy of previous referendums; also, Al Wafd is devising a constitution which is useful for the generations to come, not just for the time being. The permanent democratic situation requires that there should be a balance between a possible clash between the president and the People’s Assembly and not allowing the ruler to manipulate the parliament; this amendment helps the country to get out of any constitutional crisis If it became impossible to work with the parliament which is also elected according to a specific political platform, and to go to the ballot polls in new parliamentary elections.
Also, the free elections will not lead to a People’s Assembly speaker or a Shura Council speaker who are manipulated by the regime; they may come from the opposition, not from the president’s party.
- Dr. Darwish: Never, no other party will have the majority; as long as the current regime is in power, the president will control over all authorities; I oppose Al Wafd’s view in amending article 136 this way; I tell you that no change will happen and no opposition party will assume power; if there is a change, it will be to the worse.
Dr. Sorour and the president’s lawyer, Mohamed Al Dakrouri, say that they are demanded to amend, not to change, to the extent that Al Dakrouri, who emerged out of a sudden, uttered a word in one of his speeches which I don’t want to repeat; we are teaching law students that the methods with which a constitution is formed are the methods with which it ends. The current constitution was formed through referendum; it is legally and practically possible that the president orders an independent neutral national committee that includes constitutional law experts and some Supreme Courts judges to lay down a new constitution; this will not take more than two months, less than the time lost in 2005 and 2007 amendments.
Then, the current constitution is offered in a referendum to put an end to it, while the draft constitution is offered for approval and the new replaces the old without any constitutional vacuum.
*Al Wafd: What is your opinion, Dr. Ibrahim Darwish, regarding the articles that must be changed, deleted or amended?
- Dr. Darwish: The constitution has 211 articles which I am sure were violated; all the articles of this constitution have been violated since it was issued until now.
For example in the first section "the political system in Egypt is based on a muli-party system according to amendment of 1981 and the law organizes political parties"; unfortunately, the political parties law was issued and gave a death blow to the parties; no political party in Egypt can exercise any of its political activities outside its headquarters; this means that the parties are detained in closed rooms, while the so called National Democratic Party which is actually a gathering of opportunists. This gathering of opportunists commits every thing and exercises every thing; there is no democracy at all in the current regime which is based on one ruling party and one man.
In the second section of the constitution, no article in the first chapter has ever been respected, like article 7, which speaks about the emergence of society based on social solidarity and article 8 according to which the state guarantees equal opportunities for all citizens.
All of us realize that this last article has no presence on the ground and is violated on a daily basis; for example, the unemployment in Egypt is more than 18 %; years ago, the Prime Minister denied this in front of the People’s Assembly and concluded that Egypt needs to import a work force due to the many job opportunities in it.
There is also the third section which contains the most serious articles in the constitution: those related to rights, public freedoms and duties... all of them have been violated.
Article 40 speaks about the citizenship which the ruling regime is currently calling for, and equality among citizens before law and in rights and duties without any discrimination between them; this did not happen on the ground because there is a discrimination against the Copts.
* Al Wafd: Please, explain the meaning of this discrimination, and how far it is exercised?
-Dr. Darwish: This discrimination is clarified in defining a low quota for them to have public jobs; there is a discrimination against top graduates who are of a low stock through giving job opportunities to graduates of high stock who make use of nepotism and bribery; look at what is happening in the judiciary and the State Council’s rulings of lacking equality and giving jobs through nepotism to those graduates who receive lowest grades in the BA of Law and giving a blind eye to top graduates with excellent degrees, according to recent confirmations of the Justice Minister.
Also violated are public freedoms, while freedom of expression is guaranteed to only opportunists; regarding the issue of nepotism, I still remember the tragic end of one of my best students who graduated in the Faculty of Economy and Political Sciences with a grade of "very good"; his professors were helping him through giving him freelance work in the faculty’s research centers because he applied for a job but his superiority, uprightness, good mentality, effort and his sincerity were of no avail to him in getting any job; then, he read an advertisement about a job of a commercial representation office; he applied for the job and did the exams conducted by the ministry and he was the first in the exams; when he went to receive his job, he found a phrase reading he isn’t socially qualified to receive the job; the young man did not withdraw from the the concept of citizenship only, but he withdrew from life as a whole and he committed suicide by drowning in the Nile at Imababa bridge.
Also, the fourth section mentions the judicial independence and the supremacy of law ; however neither the law is respected, nor justice is independent, and there are 20 articles in the law giving the Justice Minister huge powers that allow him to violate the affairs of the judiciary.
There is also article 67 that bans that any laws states giving immunity to any administrative decision or work from judicial supervision, while the 2005 amendment of article 76 of the constitution includes the presidential election law immunizing the presidential election commission from any challenge and appeal; to the extent that this law was presented in advance to the Supreme Constitutional Court, to conflict with article 175.
I suggest that amending article 76 should only include "Choosing a president takes place through a direct free election" while the rest aims only at tightening the ruling NDP’s grip on power for ever regardless of who will replace Mubarak.
In the fifth section, article 74 gives the president the right to do what he wants against whoever he desires, while article 77 allows the president to assume office till the angel of death intervenes; the political practices name in a way or another the one who will succeed him like wht is happening while the regime denies it.
Sometimes, Mubarak Jr. says" I don’t think of nominating myself for the presidential elections; even the president himself says that he was not planning that his son works in politics but he was obliged and demanded to enter this field (he said this to Omar Battisha on Jan., 1st 2002).
As for the People’s Assembly, its formation and performance are false; I wrote in Al-Ahram on Nov., 3rd 2000 that it is false because the ruling NDP party included the independent MPs.