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News Analysis: Morsi's new constitution decalaraion conciliates judiciary, lets opposition down: experts

English.news.cn   2012-12-10 04:11:34            

by Shaimaa Behery

CAIRO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's new constitutional declaration issued Saturday by President Mohamed Morsi to annul the previous one is believed by experts as an attempt to appeal to the judiciary authorities, but passed over the political opposition.

Morsi's new constitutional declaration rules that the controversial one issued on Nov. 22 has been wholly cancelled, but the effects rooted in it will remain unchanged.

The Nov. 22 constitutional declaration was to expand the president's powers by making all his decrees issued since he came into office final and above judicial appeal, which triggered waves of protests nationwide and deadly clashes between his opponents and supporters, and led the judiciary authorities outraged, vowing not to supervise the constitution referendum slated for Dec. 15.

In the early hours of Sunday, the new declaration was issued after a marathon dialogue between Morsi and some national and political forces at the presidential palace to find a way out of the ongoing crisis.

National Salvation Front which combines most of the important opposition groups, did not attend the meeting, citing the lack of "principles of negotiations" as the reason.

According to Fakhry al-Tahtawi, political professor at Cairo University, the new declaration targets tempting the judiciary for the sake of the forthcoming referendum of the draft constitution.

"The president issued the new declaration to protect the process of the constitutional referendum scheduled Dec. 15, because it can't be run without a judicial supervision according to a constitutional declaration issued March 2011," he said.

But "Postponing the constitution referendum until a consensus reached was a major demand by the opposition beside cancelling the Nov. 22 declaration, so the new constitution ignored the opposition's main demand." said Tahtawi.

Former head of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Abdel Monem Ali echoed Tahtawi's view, but he thinks that if other opposition groups like the National Salvation Front attended the meeting with Morsi, the results would be different.

"In my opinion, the National Salvation Front did a historical mistake, because they didn't attend the meeting," Ali said, adding if all opposition groups attended the meeting, they might persuade the president to postpone the referendum and discuss with him the controversial articles in the draft constitution.

In its third article, the new constitutional declaration ruled that if the new constitution was voted down in the referendum, the president would call for electing a new assembly through direct ballot to draft a new one. The new 100-member panel will be elected within three months of announcing the results of the referendum.

For Tahtawi, the executive power in this article uncovered its feeling that the constitution is likely to be refused by the majority, because such article was not stated in his previous declarations.

Meanwhile, the revolutionary Youth coalition and April 6 movement called for nationwide protests against the new constitutional declaration, which proves that the new constitution was not sufficient to appease the anti-Morsi protesters.

"We refuse the constitutional declaration issued Saturday as it trivializes our major demands, which is cancelling the constitution referendum set for Dec. 15," the Revolutionary Forces Coalition said in a statement early Sunday.

Noha Bakr, political professor at the American University in Cairo, said Morsi's move to annul the previous constitutional declaration should be appreciated by the opposition.

"By any way, the last constitutional declaration is much better than the previous one, because it came after negotiations and dialogues with other national forces," said Bakr.

"The regression should be put in the account of Morsi, even if it came after pressure," she said, noting that such behavior from the presidency gives the Egyptians hopes that they can change when they insist on their minds.

According to Bakr, the president kept the effects rooted in the previous declaration without change, as without this point, the Prosecutor General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud who was sacked by the previous constitution would be back to his office. "Without this sentence, a confusion and puzzle would be happen," she said.

In its fourth article, the new constitutional declaration ruled that all constitutional declarations issued by the president, including this one could not be challenged in front of any court.

"Such article may provoke some of the judiciary authorities, but not like before," she said, adding that if people consider the new constitutional declaration from the profit and loss prospective, the judiciary is "winner," as in such a situation, it is impossible that a side wins everything, while the other loses everything.

Concerning the feasibility of the demonstrations scheduled Tuesday, Tahtawi sees that it depends on the judiciary situation. "If the judiciary accepts to supervise the referendum and responded to the president's appeal, the opposition will be fragile and with no use."

Egypt's Judges Club announced Sunday that it will announce on Tuesday its final stand on the constitutional declaration.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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