Sunday, 17 June 2012

The new Constitutional Declaration of 17 June 2012

As the results of Egypt's first 'democratic' presidential elections trickle in, a new constitutional declaration, issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), is made public. Here's a quick summary of the changes/additions made:

  • The new President is to take the oath before the Supreme Constitutional Court instead of parliament which has been dissolved. 
  • SCAF remains fully in charge of everything military-related. Field Marshal Tantawi maintains the duties legally assigned to him as president of SCAF and Minister of Defence.
  • The President has the right to declare war, but only after the approval of SCAF.
  • In case of trouble within the country, the President (again, only with the approval of SCAF) can ask the military to intervene to uphold order and security. The military maintains the competences bestowed upon it by law (and SCAF happens to be the legislator until a parliament is elected, cf. infra)
  • SCAF makes the laws until a new parliament is elected and is practicing its competences.
  • If there is an obstacle in the way of the working of the Constitutional Assembly (which there is), SCAF can appoint one within a week. The only 'specification' mentioned (if it can be called that) is that it has to represent all groups in society. This Assembly will have three months to write a draft constitution after which it is to be presented to the people in a referendum. Within the month following the  approval of the draft constitution in a referendum, the process for new parliamentary elections has to take off.
  • The President of SCAF, the President, the Prime Minister, the President of the High Council of the Judiciary or 20% of the members of the Constitutional Assembly can object to the draft constitution prepared by the Assembly if the draft is not in accordance with "the goals of the revolution, the principles safeguarding the higher interests of the country or the principles which governed the former constitutions of Egypt". By exercising this veto right, they can demand that the Constitutional Assembly review the articles in question, if there is no agreement, either of the parties can present the dispute to the Supreme Constitutional Court, the decision of which will be binding. No absolute deadline is included.
  • The law defines the conditions for eligibility of the candidates for parliamentary elections according to the system the law chooses. (The former article 38 of the Constitutional Declaration of 30 March 2011 which is altered here had the extra sentence "and these [conditions] may include minimum quota for women in both chambers". This sentence is now omitted.)

Addition: when it comes to the powers of the president, the following articles of the March 2011 Constitutional Declaration remain unaltered:

Art. 25
The President of the State is the president of the republic. He shall assert 
the sovereignty of the people, respect for the constitution and sovereignty 
of the law, and defense of national unity and social justice, according to 
means stipulated in this Announcement and the law. 

He shall undertake upon assuming his position responsibilities referred to 
in article 56 of this announcement, except for what is stipulated in 
provisions 1 and 2 of the article.  

Art. 31
The president of the republic will appoint within a maximum of 30 days 
after assuming his duties at least one vice president and determine his 
responsibilities, so that in the case of his stepping down from the position 
of the president, another will be appointed on his place. The conditions 
that must be met by the president will apply, as will rules governing the 
accountability for vice presidents of the republic.  

Art. 56 
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces deals with the administration of 
the affairs of the country. To achieve this, it has directly the following; 
1- Legislation 
2- Issuing public policy for the state and the public budget and 
ensuring its implementation 
3- Appointing the appointed members of the People's Assembly 
4- Calling the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils to enter into 
normal session, adjourn, or hold an extraordinary session, and 
adjourn said session 
5- The right to promulgate laws or object to them 
6- Represent the state domestically and abroad, sign international 
treaties and agreements, and be considered a part of the legal 
system of the state 
7- Appoint the prime minister and his deputies, ministers and their 
deputies, as well as relieve them from their duties 
8- Appoint civilian and military employees and political 
representatives, as well as dismiss them according to the law; 
accredit foreign political representative 
9- Pardon or reduce punishment, through blanket amnesty is granted 
only by law 
10-Other authorities and responsibilities as determined by the 
president of the republic pursuit to laws and regulations. The Council 
shall have the power to delegate its head or one of its members to 
take on its responsibilities 


  1. hmm..nice Franco

  2. Couldn't digest it

  3. Thank you for the summary. If I'm not missing anything, SCAF would have full powers to write the Constitution they like

  4. So in other words, Martial Law in all but name

  5. Thank u.reading from Malaysia. Is it true that scaf new makes egypt to be under military eventho new president is elected?

  6. This is real shame, Egyptians should rise once more even if thousands will be martyred. OMG

  7. Thanks a lot! reading from Bangladesh.
    After seeing the determined youth in Tahreer during the revolution, I am confident that objective of the revolution will prevail. It's only matter of time when SCAF will be back to cantonment, just as it happened in Turkey.
    I wish that Dr. Mursi will handle all the conspiracies by SCAF pragmatically.

    My best wishes to people of new Egypt.

  8. Well, this text is pretty clear to me. It gives SCAF absolutely all powers without restriction. It is a military junta and dictatorship and no power has been left to the elected President.