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Controversial supra-constitutional articles amended, National Defence Council to monitor army related matters

The supra-constitutional principles document has been amended, with new body envisioned to oversee army matters

Ahram Online, Saturday 19 Nov 2011
Tahrir demonstrations
Hundreds of thousands of protesters flocked to Tahrir square on Friday to object to the supra-constitutional principles and call on for a swift transition of power (Photo: Reuters)

Deputy Prime Minister Ali El-Selmi held a meeting at the Shura Council building in downtown Cairo that was followed by the announcement of an amended edition of the supra-constitutional principles document.

The ninth article, which stirred a lot of controversy, has been amended to state that the military forces are owned by the people, and their mission is to protect the country and maintain the safety of its land.

Concerning the budget of the military forces, which was also an issue that prompted a lot of criticism against the supra constitutional principles document, the amended draft stipulates that the army’s role gives it a special status that should be considered while discussing its budget and other related issues.

It also stated that a National Defence Council would be established to monitor and discuss army related matters, including national security and budget issues. The council would be headed by the president.

The president can declare war if he gets approval of the National Defence Council and the People’s Assembly, according to amended Article 10.

The announcement of the amended principles document is likely to appease protesters who said they would not accept making the army “a state above the state” after the original document gave the army exclusive powers and shielded it from oversight in parliament.

“We are fulfilling the demands of the January 25 Revolution. The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any authority, so we can’t forfeit it by any means,” the cabinet said in a statement following the announcement.

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