Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

Egypt: Agreement On Army Budget, Dispute On War Declaration

Head of the Wasat Party and member of the constituent party, tasked with rewriting the constitution, Abu al-Ela Mady, said that the armed forces will not play any political role in the new constitution.

Mady explained that the constituent assembly's System of Governance committee will discuss suggestions to amend the stance of the military institution in the new constitution.

Mady's statement came during a Ramadan gathering on Saturday in Minya where Mahmsoub Amin, party deputy and member of the constituent assembly, among other party leaders attended.

According to Mady, the army's budget has been divided into two bands; public and undisclosed. The public budget, concerned with civil projects such as the Suez Canal, is discussed in the presence of parliament and is supervised by the Central Auditing Organization. The private budget, concerned with military training and armory, is discussed only in the presence of the anticipated "national defense council" formed of civilians and army men.

While an agreement was reached on the army's budget, disputes are ongoing over the announcement of war; members of the military council want for war to only be declared after their approval. The constituent assembly however believes that while the opinion of the military council is to be taken into account, the approval that must be attained should be that of the national defense council's.

According to article 52 of the constitutional amendments, issued by the military council on June 17, Egypt's president can only declare war with the approval of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

Mady added that there is a suggestion to reinforce that the police's loyalty must be to the people not statesmen, in the constitution. He suggested that until now police is deliberately absent from the street.

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