Like millions of Egyptians, I have received a detailed copy of the new constitutional statement issued by President Mohammed Morsi. I have also received the bundle of decisions issued by Morsi to protect the Egyptian state, support and protect the revolution and undermine the continual stream of conspiracies planned by opposition parties which aim at aborting the revolution. These parties are all united in their hatred of the Islamic party and its tendency to uphold the genuine principles of the Egyptian nation.
I was eager to know who the individuals and corporations that had announced their opposition to the new constitutional statement were. It pleased me to realize that none of those known for their positive opposition were among them. Thus, I recognized that those who are opposing the new statement are the same parties who always oppose Morsi’s decisions. They are building up a new trend based on continuous and absolutely negative opposition within Egyptian politics. Even if decisions kept up with their beliefs and fulfilled the ambitions of the Egyptian nation, they would still oppose them.
You can say: nothing is new. Everything is going on regularly. Simply, the statement was announced, and the opposition decided to oppose it. The voice of the opposition will echo loudly through mass media and in the end it will disappear. In the end, this kind of opposition will discover that it has lost its strategic treasure – similar to what happened to Israel last week (during the Israeli war on Gaza) when it was left feeling like and orphan.
This was the feeling I saw etched on the faces of several members of this opposition last night, particularly the man who has lost control as he, like many others of the same type, is waiting for an unknown future. One of the issues waiting for him is that of the 3,000 dunams of land on the northern coast of Egypt; an issue hidden during the time of the former Public Prosecutor and the source of his fear for the new Public Prosecutor.
However, I digested their opposition to the new statement which included six articles all typical of what rebels have called for both before and after the revolution. They included promises made by the President such as the promise to bring killers of the rebels to justice, to fight corruption, to replace the corrupt Public Prosecutor and to extend the time given to the Constituent Assembly assigned to lay down the constitution. Many political powers threatened to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly unless it is given enough time for deliberate discussion. They requested an extra month or two which is exactly what happened.
This is a normal reading for the articles of the new constitutional statement:
Article 1: According to the law of protecting the revolution, all investigations and trials related to the killing of rebels, shooting at demonstrators and all terrorist crimes committed by politicians or executives during the former regime against rebels are going to be redone.
Article 2: All constitutional statements, laws and former decisions issued by the President, since taking office on June 30, 2012 until the election of a new parliament, are final and not appealable by any side. All his decisions must not be suspended or cancelled and all related lawsuits before any judicial body must be achieved.
Article 3: The Public Prosecutor must be chosen from the judicial authority by a presidential decision. His term lasts for four years and starts on taking the office of the new Public Prosecutor. He must meet all general conditions for a judicial position and must be over 40 years old. This decision takes effect on the current incumbent immediately.
Article 4: The phrase which specifies six months for the Constituent Assembly in article 60 of the constitutional statement issued in March 30, 2011, will be replaced with a new one that gives a two month extension.
Article 5: None of the judicial bodies is permitted to dissolve the Shura (Consultative) Council or the Constituent Assembly which was assigned to draft the constitution.
Article 6: The President is entitled to take appropriate decisions and procedures to deal with any danger faced by the revolution of January 25, the life of the nation, national unity, the safety of the country and to deal with any action that could hinder the performance of the state’s institutions. The President’s decisions and procedures must keep up with the spirit of the law.
Briefly, I can say that the new constitutional statement confirms the following:
1. Reinvestigating and retrying killers of the rebels and those who committed terrorist crimes against rebels whether they were politicians or executives during the time of the former deposed regime.
2. Immediate replacement of the current Public Prosecutor, Abdul-Majid Mahmoud, with a new one.
3. Giving a two month extension to the Constituent Assembly which was assigned to draft the constitution.
4. Confirming the impunity of the Constituent Assembly and the Shura (Consultative) Council.
5. Confirming impunity of the president’s constitutional statements, laws and decisions issued since taking office until acceptance of the new Constitution and election of a new parliament. These constitutional statements, laws and decisions are not appealable, must not be suspended or cancelled and all related lawsuits before any judicial body must be achieved.
6. The right of the President to take decisions and put in place procedures to deal with any danger faced by the revolution of January 25, the life of the nation, the national unity, the safety of the country and to deal with any action that could hinder the performance of the state’s institutions. Everything must keep up with the spirit of the law.
All these decisions are aimed at protecting the revolution, facing the challenges which hinder democratic change and helping Egypt to overcome the current crisis. All of them are exceptional decisions and expire when the new constitution is issued. These decisions have a limit of 80 days that begin when the new constitutional statement is issued.
I hope that all issues in Egypt are sorted out soon and all of our parties stand with each other to finalize the constitution.
The author is a former Public Prosecutor in Egypt and advocate in the Appeal and Constitutional Supreme Courts. This is article is a translation of the Arabic which first appeared on Almesryoo.com, 26 November 2012
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.