The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Why Suspending the Egyptian Constitution and Dissolving Parliament Are Good Things

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 15, 2011

Tareq al Bishry

Contrary to what the right wing may be chattering about, suspending the Egyptian constitution and dissolving parliament are very good things.

The way the Constitution is written, it is very carefully crafted to ensure that in reality in a Presidential election, the only person running, able to run was either Mubarak or his heir apparent Gamal.  If there is one thing Mubarak did and did well, was crush any opposition parties, Muslim or not.    If you were not part of the National Democratic Party (NPD) you were not part of the political process.    In a recent statement the Military Supreme Council made  decisions aimed to safeguard the transparency of presidential and parliamentary elections that should be held within the next six months.  An The eight-member committee held its first meeting on Tuesday to discuss possible ways of amending six articles of the national charter.  The fact that this panel is headed by Judge Tarek al-Beshry, a moderate Islamist writer, seems to be grist for the right wing food mill.  Let’s be very clear, 90% of the Egyptians are Muslims, it is a part of their life, just like the vast majority of Americans are Christians.  The fear card that is being played is a non-starter.

The panel  is expected to draft the constitutional amendments by 25 February, paving the way for more democratic reforms long demanded by the opposition.  The current Egyptian constitution was written during Anwar Sadat’s presidency, and has been amended three times since then–in 1980, in 2005 and in 2007. This constitution served to consolidate power in the hands of the presidency at the expense of all other branches of government.  The panel is in place to  consider the abolition of Article 179, along with amending articles 88, 77, 76, 189, 93, and all other relevant articles which may need to be removed to ensure the transparency of the electoral process.

Article 77 of the Constitution does not set a limit for presidency periods, hence Mubarak  managed 30 years..

Article 88 oversight over the elections

Article 93 meanwhile grants parliament sole authority for determining the legitimacy of MPs’ memberships.

Article 189 gives the president and the People’s Assembly an exclusive right to amend the constitution.

Article 179 on counter-terrorism restricts people’s freedoms and rights.

It is a good start.  There is much work to still be done, but given the rapid chain of events, it is remarkable that the process is going forward.

Dissolving Parliament

Given that the last parliamentary elections and blatant electoral fraud, it really is the only solution.  Another caveat with dissolving parliament is – it strips the members of the automatic immunity they received from any criminal investigations and prosecutions.  Yes, you read that right.  If you were a member of parliament, you could not be prosecuted for a crime.  We have already seen bank accounts and assets of some members and ministers frozen at home and abroad.  While there will be many interesting stories to watch unfold…I would keep an eye out for Ahmed Ezz, the steel tycoon who  had a virtual monopoly on steel in Egypt.   Former interior minister Habib al-Adli, information minister Anas el-Fekky and tourism minister Zaher Garana have been forbidden to leave the country…the list goes on, it is extensive.

I have a feeling that when the fat cats start to fall, they are not going to go down alone, and will take everybody down with them, including the Gamal and Alaa Mubarak.  Swiss authorities have already taken steps to freeze accounts and potential accounts of the Mubarak family.   The Egyptian government has asked the United States to freeze the financial assets of some officials from that country, while details are murky on exactly whose assets are being frozen, there is a pattern developing here…..


2 Responses to “Why Suspending the Egyptian Constitution and Dissolving Parliament Are Good Things”

  1. mohamed badr said

    the constitution is a contract between the people and the government.drafting or amending any constitution is the job of the experts and specialists who are skilled in reading and documenting the past,present and future of a country.we can trust tarik elbishry and his committee,but he has no time to collect the opinion of the people. also people should rush to organize local forums to learn the particulars of current egyptian constitution,

    • Thank you for your comment, you are correct that people need to educate themselves as to what the constitution does or does not say. The amending of the constitution to allow for free and fair elections, and term limits is a beginning, the rest needs to be reviewed after free and fair elections and a new president. Ultimately, Egyptians must now engage in politics like they never have before, each and every Egyptian has a vested interest in that document.

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