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Parliament, president can remove govt under new Egypt charter: Panel member

Semi-presidential system will allow removal of cabinet by parliamentary majority or president with necessary support of MPs, says member of drafting panel

Ahram Online , Thursday 14 Nov 2013
Egypt's 50-member constitution-amendment committee in session (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's new constitution will introduce a semi-presidential system in which the president and parliament can remove the cabinet, a member of the drafting committee has said.

The panel revising the suspended 2012 charter has agreed that a two-thirds majority of MPs can withdraw confidence from the government, or one-third if the move is initiated by the president.

The two-third proportion is meant to protect the government amid the current volatile political climate, said Diaa Rashwan, head of the Journalists' Syndicate and a member of the 50-member drafting committee.

Egypt's former constitutions promoted presidential systems that entrenched autocracy under successive strongmen.

The 2012 charter, drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly and faulted for failing to protect freedoms and human rights, was suspended when the military removed president Morsi in July amid mass protests against his turbulent year-long rule.

The drafting committee has granted the president a number of powers. These include naming key ministers – foreign, interior, justice and defence – in negotiation with the prime minister. Other portfolios will be installed by the chamber.

The president will be entitled to call a national referendum on dissolving parliament only once during his tenure, according to Amr El-Shobaki, chairman of the panel's system of government subcommittee. An article in the 2012 constitution that required the president to resign if such a referendum was lost has been removed to ensure "political stability."

On Wednesday, committee spokesperson Mohamed Salmawy said the panel had completed all the articles – which may total over 200 – expect those on judicial and military matters.

Officials say the final version will be completed on 3 December and will be submitted to interim President Adly Mansour for approval before being put to a national referendum.

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