Ikhwan MPs’ Vision on Constitutional Reform in Egypt
Saturday, June 3,2006 00:00
By Ikhwanweb

General Outlines

-Broadening the scope of participation of the government in the executive authority in line with that of the president .   
                             
-Imposing restrictions on the president’s  current unlimited  authority .

–Political parties must be formed only by notification .  
      
–Posts of governors and local council heads must be assumed through direct and free election .   

–Granting local popular councils  much more role and authority .

–Abolishing the Supreme Council of Judiciary as well as the Socialist Prosecutor  General .    
                                       
-Adapting texts of the constitution to the current economic situations .  
      
Introduction

The Muslim Brotherhood MPs’vision for constitutional reform was prompted by the following cirmcumstances:

1-The current political and social circumstances which are different from these existed when the constitution first took effect

2-Deliberate deviations from the constitution on the part  of the successive governments since the constitution was laid down till present , not to mention the relentless violations of constitution and law which resulted in that failure in separation of  powers or striking a balance among them.

3-The lack of implementing the principle of concurrence and balance between power and responsibility in the Egyptian political life, and out of our understanding of  the nature of the great people of Egypt and its  deep rooted civilization and ancient history;

The current political crisis is reflected by the massive desripency between what is declared by the government and what is being implemented, which led to the state authorities centered  in the hand of the president , thus leading to the entire authorities losing their raison d’etre and even their terms of reference . 

So, the vision of the MB parliamentary bloc on the constitutional reform is founded on the facts abovementioned , with the bloc considering our people’s aspirations in all its aspects of life now and in the future .

We also see that that the most appropriate and adaptable political systems, which could help achieve the aspirations and hopes of our people, is the parliamentary system. Therefore, we have taken this system’s fundamentals and constants to serve us as a guide in our vision for the aspired milestones of constitutional reform .

We have  put forward a set of amendments which deal with the Legislative Authority ( Parliament ) and its relation with the rest of the state authorities- especially the executive one- and the president, underlining the correlation between the two , provided that the wellbeing of the legislative authority and its terms of reference are founded on the constants of this said system .

Then we presented our vision for bolstering , nay , establishing a true executive authority founded on constants and fundamentals of the parliamentary system , citing the issue of dualism in the executive authority, which means that the president doesn’t have a single authority to the exclusive of other authorities , nor do his decisions or acts take effect except  with the  consent of the cabinet and the incumbent ministers and officials in before the People’s Assemply (PA i.e parliament ). This requires  fully political responsibility attached only  to the will of the parliament , which will help highlight the well being of this authority represented in the government . 
         
Then we presented our vision for a truly independent authority through a uniformed judiciary which only has the terms of reference in all disputes whatever they are or their parties , with its affairs controlled by the judicial council to make sure that this unified judiciary form and materialize with terms of reference which forestalls and ends all forms of glaring interference in the affairs of the judicial authority .  

On  revitalizing the local administration , we see that a philosophy of local government system rather than a local administration be adopted , which will ensue decentralization and deepening democratic practice by reinforcing that the governor be chosen through free public elation, along with giving the local popular councils an official  authority empowering them to launch all inclusive  local control . 
                                    
Lastly , the relation between the president and the other authorities has to be underlined , considering the principle of parallelism and balance between the authority and responsibility, which makes it inevitable that the president must not act single handed .    
           
These are the general outlines and clear characteristics of out vision of the traits of the constitutional reform in our beloved Egypt , which we hope to be a step forward toward a right  political system immune against the diseases and ailments of our incumbent political system .
what  is needed is a true , faithful will and strong intention to achieve the aspired for reform especially among the ruling elite .   

Ikhwan MPs’ viewpoint on the outlines of constitutional reform

1- Bolstering and supporting  the role of parliament in : 
    
* Imposing control on  the government and bringing it to book , as well as  the way of voting for withdrawing confidence from it .     
                
* Energizing it with greater authority  to decide  on the state’s balance sheet .    
                                   
* In article 124, the phrase ( or whom they deputize ), as well as the word ( not) in the last line of the article must be omitted .   
          
*Omitting the phrase ( with the government ’s consent ) from article 125.  
                                             
* In article 126 the text must be replaced to be as follows :( The Prime Minister and his deputies , the ministers and their deputies are jointly  responsible before the PA for the state’s general policy and each minister is responsible for the acts of his ministry )    
         
* Article 127 may  be replaced with the text as follows ( The  PA has the authority to give a vote of no confidence to the government or  a minister , and the vote of no confidence may not be referred except  after an interpellation is addressed to the government or the minister , with a notion tabled by one tenth of the deputies , and the Parliament may not issue a decision on this issue before three days from tabling it , and the  vote of no confidence against the government or the minister may be  with the majority of the parliament members )        
     
- Article 128 is suggested to  be replaced by the following text ( If the parliament endorses the vote of no confidence against the government , the Prime Minister must take its resignation documents to the  president , and if any minister or one of his deputies is given a vote of no confidence , he /she shall leave the cabinet )     
                                            
* Article 15 may be replaced by the following text (  The balance sheet  of the state with all its bodies and military and civil agencies shall be referred to the PA at least  two months before  the start of the fiscal year .
The  parliament is authorized to introduce any amendments it  deems necessary , but these amendments do not take effect except after the approval of the MPs . The voting is made chapter by chapter and the amendments are issued with a decision , and in case the balance sheet has not been endorsed before the fiscal year , the present  one continues to be valid until the new is approved . The law outlines the way of preparing the balance sheet in line with the fiscal year .      
                                    
* In  the first clause of article 99 , there is a phrase which may be omitted which says  ( when one is caught red handed  ) with adding  a paragraph to the same article , saying ( The only exception in the abovementioned is arresting one while he is red handed )

* Article 101 may be replaced by the following text :( The PA holds its ordinary annual term in session on two terms : The first starts before the second Thursday of September and the second before the second Thursday of February . The ordinary term of sessions lasts for eight months at least , and it may not be wrapped up before the endorsement of the state balance sheet and the ratifying of the final account .

* Article 102 may by replaced with the following text : ( The PA convenes for an urgent meeting at the request of the president in emergencies or through a cosigned motion by a  majority of the MP)

               
                            
   *  In article 108 the following phrase is added ( or when filing a request of renewal ) after the phrase (and these decisions may be referred to the PA in the first session after the end of authorization )   
  
* In article 109 the phrase ( to the president ) is replaced to be ( to the government )    
              
*  In article 113 the phrase ( thirty days ) may be replaced with ( fifteen days )with omitting the phrase ( by a majority of two thirds of its members )   
                   
* Abolishing article 117.          
                                         
* In article 108 the phrase ( one year ) may be replaced with the phrase ( six months )      
               
* Article 132 may be abolished .
                                      
* The text in Article 133 may be replaced by the following text :

( The Prime Minister refers the government with its form and program to the PA to have it admitted by the parliament . While he reviews his program or the government statement on the state general policy,  the PM has the authority to withdraw confidence from the government before the PA).            
* Article 136 is replaced by the following text( The President may not dissolve the PA except when necessary and at the request of the government , with the decision of  dissolution bearing clear reasons thereof . The dissolution decision must include the inviting of electorate for new election within no more than  sixty days; and the Parliament may not be dissolved for the same reason once again ).

*Articles 74 and 152 must be rescinded  . 

2- Bolstering up the Role of the Cabinet and broadening its area of authority by :       
                       
* Broadening the area in which the government shares the president in the executive authority measures , including that the President practices some of his area of jurisdiction only after the approval of the cabinet .  
  
* Article 132 :  Transferring the  area of jurisdiction enshrined in this article to the Prime Minister in the presence of the President .

* Article 137: The executive authority falls within the area of jurisdiction of the president and the cabinet . The former practices his executive area of jurisdiction with decrees endorsed by the Cabinet . For his signature to take effect , they must be referred to the Prime Minister and the incumbent ministers to ratify them , and his spoken or written orders do not exempt the ministers from liability . 
                         
*Articles 74 , 132, 138, 139,140,152 and 202 must be rescinded . 

*Article 141 must be replaced by the following text(  The President names the prime minister and this is referred to the PA . In case the candidate does not win the majority , the President names another one . The President may appoint a prime minister but after the candidate is approved by the  PA . He may also accept his resignation or relieve him of  his post , and he may do the same with the ministers if the Prime Minister  sees that . If the government tenders its resignation , the Prime Minister sends the President a letter of notification . The government tenders its resignation once the Prime Minister resigns or is relieved of his post .      
                   
* Article 143 must be replaced by the following text ( The President is authorized to form diplomatic missions abroad. He is also authorized to nominate and sack the diplomatic state  representatives  according to what is enshrined in the law , and he has the authority to endorse the credentials of the diplomatic missions to the foreign states and agencies , according also to what is enshrined in the law .     
                                  
* The Ikhwan MPs see the omission of a phrase in  article 153 which reads ( the government is the higher  executive and  administrative body in the state )    
                                       
* The Ikhwan MPs see the omission of item 1  in  article 156 which reads ( sharing with the president) to be replaced with ( consent to  the  international treaties and agreements before concluding them )      
             
*  The phrase in Article 157 which reads ( Higher administrative ) should be replaced with ( executive ) 
                             
* The Ikhwan MPs see the imposing of restrictions on the practices of the President in terms of the areas of authority given to him according to the constitution on affairs which could pose a threat the nation’s safety or impede the state establishments  from performing their roles enshrined in the constitution .  
                                                    
* Rescinding Article 74 from the constitution . 
                             
* Article 148 must be replaced by the following text : A state of emergency may be declared in a specific area with the aim to forestall a general tumult which cannot be confronted with ordinary  measures .  A nationwide state of emergency may not be declared except in case of a natural disaster or armed internal tumults . In all case the declaration of a state of emergency via a decision from the President for thirty days at most , and this decision must be referred to the PA within seven days of issuance , and it is ratified by the PA, otherwise it will be considered null and void . In case of dissolution of the PA, the state of emergency may take effect only after the approval of the Shura Council with at least a two third majority of  its members , while this decision must be referred to the PA once it starts its meetings . If the state of emergency is declared during the PA recess , it convenes as soon as possible , with the law organizing  the  requirements of the status quo in a way that does not impede the  judiciary authority from  performing its full  area of jurisdiction and in a way also that does not impede whomever from practicing his /her  right to resort to it . The term of sessions of the  two Houses may not be suspended , nor are they dissolved  as long as the state of emergency is still on
The most appropriate election system which secures further partisan representation in the parliament :                        
We see that  securing  and furthering of  opportunities of parties representation in the Parliament is a matter which cannot exist with any election system whatever it is , for the crisis of the Egyptian partisan system is a product of the incumbent Law on Parties  and the practices of the ruling regime which always denies the parties any access to any popular communication in all its forms . Therefore,  what is needed is an  electoral system generated from a law which secures the right of parties to exist  merely by notification ( of authorities ), as well as a political practice controlled by the judgments of constitution and law in form and content , especially on the part of the state authorities. This only secures  growing chances of parties representations in the parliament .                
Then there comes the role of the electoral system which will be able to faithfully reflect the will of the electorate , in the light of the following principles :

* Principle of multiparty system .

*Equity and equal opportunities in a way that secures parliament representation for parties and individuals .   
                            
All the principles abovementioned must not be diminished or rendered inactive .

3- Securing a minimum number occupied by woman in the parliament through elections     
   
4- We see that the  healthy partisan and political life is the only way to increase number of seats occupied by woman .  

5-We shun any idea of selling for the quota system in all its forms , with the law organizing ways and means of  incentives to encourage the integration of woman in the public life at the partisan or individual levels . 
  
6- Refurbishing the local government  system and enhancing its executive and control authority and encouraging its decentralization .     
                               
Those concerned with the  constitutional project  have to adopt the philosophy of the local government system rather than a mere local administration , therefore :

1- Governors have to be nominated through public, direct free election, and so are the whole units of the local government .     
                            
2- The public interests should override the executive one .

 3-  Members  of  Local Councils invariably must be given tools of parliament control including questions, interpellations ,  general discussions and giving a vote of no confidence .

 4- Giving the local councils authority of issuing local decrees , as well as empowering them to table notions and control independent local budgets .   

  * An anti – terrorism law to be a legal  substitute for combating this  phenomenon without the need to implement the Emergency Law .  

 We see that our punitive system is  sufficient as it encompasses texts capable of combating the phenomenon , voicing a warning of touching upon any of the public freedoms and the rights enshrined in the third and fourth chapters of the constitution .

Reinforcing the independence of the judicial authority through:
Abolishing the higher council of the judicial bodies .

* Abolishing the system of the social prosecutor attorney and this will ensure the  abolishing of the Court of Ethics .

* Abolishing the higher council of the judicial bodies and thus abolishing the two articles 167 and 173 .

* Rescinding of the sixth part of the fifth chapter of article 179
 Rescinding of article 171.

* The judicial authority falls within the area of jurisdiction of courts , with no permission to establish any quarters  except courts and the natural judge .   
* The  Constitutional  Judiciary should be brought  back to its natural place , the Court of Cassation.     
Formulating the texts of the constitution in a way that makes it  compatible with the current economic situations , which will secure :          
     
* Free choice of the state’s economic attitude within the framework of preserving the smoothness  of the economic activities ,social justice and securing the right of ownership in all its forms as well as protecting the job rights in compliance with the ruling of the Higher Constitutional Court in this connection which sees the achieving of suitability without encroaching on the present texts .

Any opinions aimed to achieve the targets of the constitutional amendment as it came in the President’s program are as follows : 
                   
* More balance between authorities .                                                                
* Advocacy of the rights of the citizen as well as the public freedoms .
* Enhancing the partisan life .                                                                        
* Empowerment of women .                                                                          
Enhancing Local Councils:                        
1- Article 73 must be replaced by the following text : The President of the republic is the president of the state and he practices his authority according to what is enshrined in the constitution.)
2 -Article 74 must be annulled .
3- The text of article 76 must be replaced by the following text ( The President is elected through the public , secret , free balloting in the way enshrined in the law  )
4- The text of article 77 must be amended to be ( The president ’s term in office is five years and he may be reelected only for once .                          5- The text of article 93 is replaced to be as follows ( It is the Higher Administrative Court that has the term of reference to give the final say in the election challenges in all their forms , as well as  the legality of membership )
6-The text of article 5 must be amended as follows ( The political system in ARE is a  multiparty one within the frame of the basic principles and components of the Egyptian society enshrined in the constitution , provided that parties have the right to exist by mere notification of authorities. The law regulates the political parties in a way that secures them the right to form and also to help them reactivate themselves ,  and eliminating anything which stands in the way of their connection  with the masses in any way .              
7- It is the PA which decides , by a majority of its members , whether the president is incapacitated                                                         8- The Higher Press Council must be abolished and its areas of jurisdiction go to the Press Association .

 
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