Morsi's changes are 'legally faulty: Judge Tarek El-Bishri

Ahram Online, Tuesday 14 Aug 2012

In an interview with Al-Shorouk newspaper, prominent judge Tarek El-Bishri claims that President Morsi's changes are unconstitutional

Judge Tarek El-Bishri (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Islamist oriented Judge Tarek El-Bishri, who headed the committee that drafted the March 2011 Constitutional Declaration, came out against President Mohamed Morsi's recent constitutional decisions, stressing that "Morsi holds no authority to issue constitutional decrees."

In an interview with the independent daily Al-Shorouk on Monday, the prominent judge described Morsi's Constitutional Declaration as "an acceptance of the SCAF's amendments to the March declaration," which the judge described as "illegitimate."

"The SCAF's declaration was invalid, and for Morsi to issue a constitutional declaration, especially for its termination, means he acknowledges it, a legally false action," said El-Bishri.

El-Bishri added that Morsi could have acted against the declaration "as if it doesn't exist," and exercised legislative powers, with his actions scrutinised later by a newly elected parliament.

"I would accept the president's constitutional declaration if he admits to having carried out a political coup and rules according to its legitimacy, and not the legitimacy that made him president," El-Bishri told Al-Shorouk.

The judge also criticised the second and third articles of Morsi's 12 August Constitutional Declaration, stating that they conflict with the Constitutional Declaration issued in March 2011.

The second article stated that Article 25, clause 2 of the March 2011 Constitutional Declaration is to be replaced with the following text: "And he [the president] will undertake all his duties as stipulated by Article 56 of this declaration." [Article 56 outlines the authorities of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and grants the latter full executive and legislative powers, now held by Morsi.]

"The second article gave the president supra-constitutional authorities and his third article gives him control over the constituent assembly, which conflicts with the articles that people voted for on [the] 19 March [referendum]," said El-Bishri.

The third article gave the president the legitimacy to form a new Constituent Assembly to draft Egypt's constitution if the current one fails to do so, adding that the new draft constitution will be put before a nationwide referendum within 30 days after it is written, to be followed by parliamentary elections in two months, if it is approved.

Morsi's recent changes have been questioned by other legal experts, who query the constitutionality of his actions.




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