Comparison of Egypt's suspended and draft constitutions
Posted December 09, 2012 by Kamal Nawash
Comparison of Egypt's suspended and draft constitutions
Egypt's Islamist-dominated constituent assembly has approved a controversial draft of the country's new constitution in a session boycotted by most liberals, secularists and Christians.
Critics have warned the draft could impose a more Islamic system on Egypt, and that it fails to guarantee the equality of men and women.
The BBC News website compares the 1971 constitution, which was suspended following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and the draft charter, which must be passed by a popular referendum.
1971 constitution (suspended) 2012 draft constitution
Identity of the state: "The Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic state based on citizenship.
The Egyptian people are part of the Arab Nation and work for the realisation of its
Identity of the state: "The Arab Republic of Egypt is an independent state with unified sovereignty that cannot be divided. Its system is democratic. The Egyptian nation is a part of the Arabic and Islamic nations (Umma). It is proud to belong to the Basin of the Nile and Africa, as well as of its Asian extensions."
Islam and Sharia (Islamic law): Article 2 says: "Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic is its official language. The principles of Sharia are the main source of legislation."
Islam and Sharia: Article 2 stays as it is, but Article 219 is new. It states: "The principles of Sharia include general evidence and foundations, rules and jurisprudence as well as sources accepted by doctrines of Sunni Islam and the majority of Muslim scholars."
Religious minorities: No article in the old constitution.
Religious minorities: "The principles of the legislations for Christian and Jewish Egyptians are the main source of legislation that organises their civil status and religious affairs."
Religion: "The state shall guarantee the freedom of belief and the freedom of practice of religious rites."
Religion: Article 43 says: "The state shall guarantee the freedom of faith and the freedom of practice of religious rites and the right to establish worshipping places for monotheist religions based on law"; Article 44 adds: "Insulting prophets and messengers is forbidden"; but Article 45 states: "Freedom of opinion and thought is guaranteed. Every person has the right to express his opinion orally or in writing, pictures or other means of publication and expression."
Al-Azhar: No mention of al-Azhar University or its scholars was included in the 1971 constitution.
Al-Azhar: "Al-Azhar is an independent and a comprehensive entity. It takes the task of preaching Islam in Egypt and in the whole world. Scholars of al-Azhar should be consulted in all matters related to Sharia."
Democracy and Shura (consultation): "The political system is based on pluralism."
Democracy and Shura (consultation): "The political system is based on principles of democracy and on Shura."
Women: Article 10 says: "The state shall guarantee the protection of motherhood and childhood, take care of children and youth and provide suitable conditions for the development of their talents"; Article 11 adds: "The state shall guarantee the proper balance between the duties of women towards the family and their work in society, considering their equal status with men in the fields of political, social, cultural and economic life without violation of the rules of Islamic jurisprudence."
Women: The new Article 10 says: "The state shall provide motherhood and childhood services for free. It shall also guarantee co-ordination between the duties of the woman and her public work. The state shall provide protection and care for the divorced and widowed woman".
Article 30 states that "citizens are equal before the law and equal in rights and obligations without discrimination", but there is no explicit guarantee of women's rights.
Rights and freedoms: The chapter of rights and freedoms included 24 articles.
Rights and freedoms: The new constitution includes 51 articles on personal rights, political and moral rights, economic and social rights, guarantees for protecting rights and freedoms.
The new Article 73 says: "Enforced employment, slavery and sex trade are deemed acts punishable by law." The draft does not not include a clear ban on human trafficking or an obligation to adhere to international rights treaties.
Military: No article in the old constitution.
Military: "It is not allowed to try civilians before military tribunals unless in cases for crimes that damage the armed forces."
Media: No article in the old constitution.
Media: Article 48 states: "Media organisations cannot be suspended, closed or their assets be confiscated unless there is a judicial decree"; Article 49 adds: "Notification only is required to launch and own newspapers."
Judiciary: No article in the old constitution.
Judiciary: "The Supreme Constitutional Court is formed of a president and 10 members." It currently has a president and 18 members.
Presidential mandate: "The mandate of the president is six years, starting from the results of the elections; the president can be re-elected for an unlimited number of new terms."
Presidential mandate: "The mandate of the president is four years starting from the results of the elections; the president can only be re-elected for a second term, not more."
Political ban on the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP): Article 232 says: "Leaders of the dissolved NDP are banned from all political activities, or from running for presidential or legislative elections for 10 years, from the day when this constitution is adopted in a referendum. Those who are considered 'leaders' are all members of the general secretariat of the NDP, members of the political bureau, political committee, and MPs during the last two legislative sessions pre-revolution."
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