25 December 2012

Egypt: New Constitution Approved

Egypt's new constitution, drafted by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Morsi, has been approved by 63.8 percent of voters in a two-round ... ( Resource: Egypt Approves Disputed Draft Constitution )

Final results of Egypt's 2012 draft constitution were released yesterday, December 25, 2012 by the country's Higher Electoral Commission, showing an approval rate of over 63 per cent after two rounds of voting.

The latest round took place on Saturday, December 22, 2012 with voters from 17 governorates taking part in the poll whose turnout was about 30 per cent. The first round held on December 15, 2012 in 10 governorates.

The Xinhua news agency reported that the release of results was delayed to give electoral officials time to check appeals and allegations of fraud by the opposition. The National Salvation Front promised at a press conference on Sunday, December 23, 2012 to appeal against the results of the constitutional referendum, alleging that there had been fraud and other violations.

Meanwhile, President Mohamed Mursi over the weekend ordered Parliament's Upper Chamber, the Shura Council, to convene after the release of official results of the constitutional referendum. The new constitution gives the Shura Council powers to legislate until the Lower House of Parliament is elected within the next two months, the AP news agency said.

President Mursi has held legislative powers for months since a court disbanded the Lower House, saying the law governing the election of its members was unconstitutional. The President also over the weekend appointed 90 members to the Shura Council in an attempt to make the body more representative. The Council is expected to focus on passing a new law on the rules for Parliamentary elections.

Under the new constitution, Sharia remains the main source of legislation while Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's leading authority, is to be consulted on matters concerning Sharia. On the other hand, Christianity and Judaism are to be the main source of legislation for Christians and Jews. The right to beliefs is protected and the State's obligations are limited to Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Presidential mandates are limited to two four-year terms of officce.

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