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Key changes to Egypt’s constitution

Topic covered:

  1. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

 

Key changes to Egypt’s constitution

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Proposed key changes in Egypt’s constitution and relevance.

 

Context: Egypt is holding a three-day referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in office until 2030. Parliament this week overwhelmingly approved the proposals, which would also bolster the role of the military and expand the president’s power over judicial appointments.

Critics say they fear that the changes will further limit the space for dissent after a wide-ranging security crackdown.

 

What are the key changes?

  1. An amendment to Article 140 of the constitution extends the presidential term to six years from four. An outright bar on any president serving more than two terms will change to a bar on serving more than two consecutive terms.
  2. The amendments provide for the creation of a second parliamentary chamber known as the Council of Senators. It would have 180 members, two-thirds elected by the public and the rest appointed by the president.
  3. Article 200 of the constitution on the role of the military is expanded, giving the military a duty to protect “the constitution and democracy and the fundamental make-up of the country and its civil nature, the gains of the people and the rights and freedoms of individuals”.
  4. The amendments also create the post of vice president, allowing the president to appoint one or more deputies. They task the president with choosing head judges and the public prosecutor from a pool of senior candidates pre-selected by the judiciary. They further create a quota setting women’s representation in parliament at a minimum of 25 percent.

 

Concerns:

 

Critics say the amendments are driven by Sisi and his close entourage, and by the powerful security and intelligence agencies. They also fear the changes thrust the armed forces into political life by formally assigning them a role in protecting democracy.

 

Sources: the hindu.