Two articles in the Supra-Constitutional Communiqué, announced on Tuesday, will be amended, deputy Prime Minister Ali El-Selmy announced in a press conference today.
The communiqué was revealed after El-Selmy held a meeting with 500 political figures to discuss the details of the supra-constitutional principles that will underpin any new constitution. Also on the agenda was the criteria for choosing the constituent assembly that will be tasked with drafting the new constitution. However, the communiqué caused an outcry among the country’s various political forces who said that it practically gave the military council super-powers.
In apparent response to this outcry, El-Selmy held a press conference Thursday in which he announced that two of the controversial articles that triggered the heated debated – namely Articles 9 and 10 – will be amended. The original version of Article 9 stipulated that “only the armed forces has the right to discuss matters related to the armed forces or discuss its budget… and only the armed forces can approve any legislation relating to the armed forces.” In the new version, the word “only” is deleted.
The first draft of Article 10 stated that a “council of national defence" will be created and headed by the president. According to the article, the council’s role wouldl be to safeguard national security. A clause has since been added to state that the council will also have the duty of “revising and approving the budget of the armed forces.”
The communiqué incurred the wrath of many of the country’s political forces for bestowing the armed forces with more powers than the elected president and parliament. Many political figures also questioned why the army’s budget needs to remain a secret, a case not true in many countries where parliament has the right to question all aspects of the budget.