After more than 10 hours of meetings on Saturday, the national dialogue between Egypt’s presidency and a number of political and legal figures ended with the announcement of a new constitutional declaration that revokes the controversial constitutional declaration issued on 22 November. Major opposition forces boycotted the national dialogue meeting.
The new declaration, which has not been met with applause by the opposition, did not postpone the constitutional referendum, as the opposition demanded. The new declaration keeps the plebiscite date as is (15 December), which will either approve or decline a constitution drafted by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly.
The new declaration also puts the 22 November declaration and all previous declarations out of the reach of any legal procedures against it, as well as any laws passed on the authority of those declarations. These include the sacking and replacement of the prosecutor-general from his post as well as directives to the judiciary to retry cases against those accused of killing protesters during the uprising on 25 January, 2011 and up until Morsi was announced the winner of presidential elections on 30 June, 2012.
"The declaration is not intended to protect the president’s decisions against legal appeals, but rather to protect the constitutional declarations. This is an act of sovereignty granted to the president," said Selim El-Awa, an Islamist and legal expert who read the declaration at a press conference on Saturday night after the national dialogue meeting.
Ahram Online gives you their unofficial translation of President Mohamed Morsi's newest constitutional declaration issued Saturday 11 December 2012:
1- The constitutional declaration issued on 22 November 2012 is void starting from today [9 December 2012] and all its consequences remain in effect.
2- If new evidence arises, new investigations will be conducted into the killing, attempted killing, injury or terrorising of citizens between 25 January 2011 and 30 June 2012 if these crimes were related to the revolution.
If the investigations find new evidence related to the above-mentioned crimes, the general prosecution is to refer the case to court of legal jurisdiction, even if there is a final acquittal in the case or if the court rejected the prosecution-general's appeal on the acquittal.
3- If the people vote against the draft constitution in the referendum on Saturday, 15 December 2012, the president is to call for the direct election of a new Constituent Assembly of 100 members within three months.
The new Assembly is to finish its task within six months from its election date. The president is to then call for a referendum on the new draft presented by the Assembly within thirty days of receiving it.
In all cases, vote counting and the announcement of results in the constitutional referendum is to take place publicly in election subcommittees as soon as the voting process is finished. The results are to be validated by the head of the subcommittee.
4- All constitutional declarations, including the current one, are immune from any challenge in any court and all related lawsuits are considered void.
5- This constitutional declaration is to be published in the Official Newspaper and is valid from the day it is issued.