Skip to main content

Challenges Await Egypt's New Constitution

The 50-member committee for reviewing Egypt's constitutional amendments is trying to work out differences over certain key elements.
People are seen at Al Azhar mosque before a protest in support of the Islamist institution Al-Azhar's assertion of independence from the Muslim Brotherhood, in old Cairo April 5, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST RELIGION) - RTXY9Q2

As was announced Oct. 1 by the committee's deputy president, Kamal al-Helbawy, the 50-member committee reviewing the draft amendment to the 2012 Egyptian Constitution enacted under the Muslim Brotherhood regime is promising to finish the job in two weeks. There is a heated debate over whether the new draft constitution will amend the Muslim Brotherhood’s tailored one or change it entirely.

Amending the Muslim Brotherhood’s constitution seems the more realistic option. As such, adopting the new draft will be the first major step in the transitional road map promised by the new regime. This is to be followed by a referendum on the amendments, parliamentary elections and, last but not least, by a presidential vote. Yet there was an intense debate over which elections to hold first between those who are inclined to adopt a presidential system and those who want a parliamentary one. It seems that the issue has been settled, and the parliamentary elections will be held first. The key issue in the debate is the place of religion in the proposed constitution after the Islamized constitution of 2012. It was not easy to get rid of the controversial Article 219, which put the interpretation of any article or the adoption of laws in the hands of the religious institution in a very broad sense, thus practically establishing an Islamist state under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.