Egypt could be close to passing a new constitution. A council of 85 Egyptians has drafted over 200 articles and is waiting for approval from the assembly. Most of the articles have already been approved, and when the whole document is ready, President Morsy can begin the process to make it official. Some citizens feel that this is a step in the right direction while others criticize the government for trying to quickly push out a constitution without giving proper time to debate and revise.
The group writing the constitution is predominantly Islamic. Because of their overwhelming majority, they called for an immediate vote, which caused several members of the opposition to walk out. The replacements were either members of the Muslim Brotherhood or one of their allies, which merely expedited the passing of the new constitution.
Opponents of the constitution have several grievances with its contents. They claim that the rights it would provide are actually fewer than what the 1971 council allowed, especially for women. They also fear that this constitution would push Egypt closer to Sharia law, increasing the influence of Islamists on the government. Quickly passing the new constitution could also be seen as a method devised by President Morsy to take some heat off of his recent declaration to expand his own powers.
The new constitution seems to also have its positive changes. Previous president Hosni Mubarak was severely criticized for jailing protesters who have committed no crimes. One of the new and approved articles prevents persons from being “arrested, searched, incarcerated, deprived of freedom in any way and/or confined” unless it’s ordered by a “competent judge.” Moreover, if a person is jailed, he must be told why within 12 hours, investigators must review the case within 24 hours, and the person’s attorney must be present during their interrogation.
Despite being Egypt’s first freely-elected president, Egypt is still the source of many protests, mostly from groups that oppose the Muslim Brotherhood. Is the new constitution good for Egypt or is it a power grab by the majority party?