Constitutional declaration can be amended without referendum: SCAF

Ahram Online, Tuesday 22 May 2012

SCAF member Major Mamdouh Shaheen refuses to set timeframe for changes to constitutional declaration defining new president's authority

Major Mamdouh Shaheen
General Mamdouh Shaheen, a member of the military council (Photo: Reuters)

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has the right to amend or add articles to the constitutional declaration without submitting it for a referendum, SCAF member Major Mamdouh Shaheen told Al-Shorouk newspaper Monday.

Shaheen refused to announce a timeframe for the amendments and stated that the president's powers were already defined in the present constitutional declaration. The SCAF doesn’t intend to change these powers without consulting other groups, he added.

The SCAF is conducting meetings with political groups, MPs, and legal experts on the details of the amendments to the constitutional declaration but no agreement has yet been reached.

The amendments could be postponed until after the first round of presidential elections due to the continuing disagreements, Shaheen added.

The comments came after political forces on Monday postponed for the third time a meeting with the SCAF to discuss the constitutional declaration.

The Salafist Nour Party and the Building and Development Party were the only parties to turn up for the meeting.

Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) MP Osama Suleiman stated that the Muslim Brotherhood rejected issuing a full constitution that dictates the new president's mandate. He also stressed the importance of dismissing the El-Ganzouri government and establishing a new government formed by the parliamentary majority.

Wahid Abdel-Meguid, independent MP and coordinator of the Muslim Brotherhood's Democratic Alliance, said Monday that negotiations between political parties on the details of amendments to the constitutional declaration had reached a dead-end.

Abdel-Meguid made the comments after a Monday parliamentary meeting addressing the issue was cancelled indefinitely. Party representatives were expected to negotiate a recommended format for the interim constitutional document and submit it to the ruling military council for approval.

On 17 May, the SCAF announced that it intended to issue an interim constitution with articles that would define the authority of the upcoming president but failed to specify a timeframe.

The SCAF is supposed to hand over power before 30 June.

Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential poll will be held on 23 and 24 May, with a runoff round on 16 and 17 June if no single candidate wins an outright majority. Egypt's next president will be formally named on 21 June.

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