For the past few weeks, a committee of ten constitutional legal experts has been reviewing Egypt’s constitution and coming up with amendments to propose. Upon completion of their work, an unofficial copy of these amendments was made available by Al-Masry Al-Youm on August 22. It is important to note that these amendments are in no way final and have yet to be reviewed, poured over, and edited by a Constituent Assembly of fifty members (which has not yet been announced) before the production of a final constitutional draft which will eventually be voted on by referendum.
The following are the main highlights from the August 22 version of the constitutional draft (which is made up of 197 articles). Please note that this is not a full translation, nor does it attempt to be.

  • Egypt is a member of both the Arab and Islamic nations. (Article 1)
  • The role of religion in the state and the role of Al-Azhar in Articles 2-4 remain unchanged, although Al-Azhar is now not allowed to interpret laws. Additionally, Article 219 of the 2012 Constitution (on the principles of Islamic sharia) has been removed.
  • The political system is based on a multi-party system, the peaceful transfer of power, and separation of powers, within the framework and principles of Egyptian society. (Article 6)
  • Egyptian nationality will be regulated by the law. (Article 7)

Basic Components of Society

  • The state shall guarantee equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination (Article 9)
  • The family remains the foundation of society. (Article 10)
  • The state will protect motherhood and childhood and ensure that a woman can balance her duties to her family and her work in the society. (Article 11, serious implications for women’s rights & whether the state has a responsibility in determining such)
  • The state will guarantee the equality of women with men in political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of life, without detracting from the principles of Islamic sharia. (Article 11)
  • Forced labor will not be allowed, other than what the law allows for a public service and in exchange for compensation. (Article 12)
  • There is a right to peaceful striking, as regulated by the law. (Article 14)
  • The rights of martyrs and those injured in the revolution as well as their families are guaranteed by Article 15.
  • The right to social security and welfare is established by Article 16.
  • The state will provide health care for all citizens. Health insurance will be free for those who cannot afford it. (Article 17)
  • Everyone has a right to a free education. Primary school is mandatory for all. (Article 18)
  • Arabic as a language, religious studies, and national history are required subjects to be studied in school. (Article 20)

Economic Components

  • The national economy is based on principles of development, investment, working to increase the national income, raising the standard of living, eliminating poverty and unemployment, safeguarding the rights of workers, setting minimum wages, among other things. (Article 23)
  • Agriculture, industry, and tourism are basic components of the economy. (Article 24)
  • The taxing system will be set by the law. (Article 32)

Rights, Freedoms, and Public Duties

  • Citizens are equal afore the law and there is no differentiating among them due to gender, origin, language, religion, or any other reason. (Article 38)
  • Everyone has the right to be free and can only be imprisoned according to the law and as per his rights. (Article 39)
  • The torture of prisoners is not allowed, as per Article 40.
  • Citizens have a right to privacy in their mail, e-mail, phone calls, and other forms of communication. (Article 42)
  • Citizens have a right to privacy in their homes and this cannot be invaded except under times of danger or distress. (Article 43)
  • The rights to life and a person’s body are guaranteed by Articles 44-45.
  • The freedom of movement, residence, and immigration is guaranteed by Article 46.
  • Freedom of belief and thought are protected for adherents of the Abrahamic religions, as per Articles 47-48.
  • The state will protect research, creativity, and innovation. Cultural and civilizational heritage will also be protected. (Article 49)
  • The state guarantees freedom of the press, publishing, and dissemination. Control over what is published by the media is not allowed, but there may be exceptions during states of emergency or times of war. (Article 51)
  • The right to peacefully assemble and protest is guaranteed by Article 53.
  • Citizens have a right to establish political parties. Political activities and political parties cannot be based on religion, nor can they discriminate based on gender or origin. (Article 54)
  • The rights of association and establishing syndicates and unions are guaranteed by Articles 55-56.
  • Citizens have a right to adequate housing, clean water, and sustenance. (Article 58)
  • The rights of children are discussed in Article 59.
  • The rights of the disabled are discussed in Article 60.
  • The military draft remains mandatory as per Article 62.
  • Every citizen has the right to vote or run for election. Every citizen who is eligible to vote will be automatically added to a voter list as per Article 63.
  • The rights of Egyptians abroad, including their right to vote, are guaranteed by Article 64.
  • Oppression, exploitation, sex trade, and trafficking are all illegal as per Article 65.

The Rule of Law

  • The accused is innocent until proven guilty. The rights of the accused are also further detailed in Articles 70-72.
  • Any assault on personal freedoms or the sanctity of life is a crime as determined by the law. (Article 73)
  • Judgments are executed in the name of the people and it is a crime for public officials not to carry out these judgments appropriately. (Article 74)

The People’s Assembly

  • The People’s Assembly will be made up of at least 450 members, voted in by a direct election. Parliamentary candidates must be Egyptian citizens above the age of 25 and graduates of primary school. (Article 76)
  • Parliamentarians will be voted in for a term of 5 years. (Article 80)
  • Every People’s Assembly will have a Head and two Deputies to be selected at the first meeting. (Article 91)
  • A People’s Assembly session cannot take place unless the majority of members are in attendance. (Article 94)
  • The President, the Cabinet, and members of the People Assembly all have the right to propose legislation. (Article 95)
  • The President cannot dissolve the People’s Assembly except when necessary and based on a reasoned decision and a referendum of the people. (Article 110)
  • Every citizen has the right to submit suggestions and complaints to the People’s Assembly in writing, as per Article 111.

The President

  • The President is elected for a term of four years. He/she can only be reelected once. (Article 115)
  • The President must be an Egyptian born to two Egyptian parents. He/she and his/her parents cannot have held any other citizenship. He/she cannot be married to a spouse that is not Egyptian. He/she must be at least 40 years old. (Article 116)
  • To be nominated for the Presidency, an individual must have the endorsement of either 20 members of the People’s Assembly or 20,000 citizen signatures (all of whom have the right to vote and come from at least 10 governorates). A citizen cannot endorse more than one candidate. (Article 117)
  • The President will be voted in by a direct election. (Article 118)
  • The President will select a Prime Minister and assign him the responsibility of establishing a Cabinet. (Article 121)
  • The roles and responsibilities of the President are laid out in detail, as per Articles 121-132.
  • In the case that the President is accused of breaching the constitution, high treason, or another felony, Article 134 lays out the procedure that should follow and relevant matters related to impeachment.

The Cabinet

  • All ministers must be Egyptians and at least 30 years old. He/she and his/her parents cannot have held any other citizenship. He/she cannot be married to a spouse that is not Egyptian. A member of the Cabinet cannot also be a member of the People’s Assembly and vice versa. (Article 138)
  • The role of the Cabinet is laid out in detail in Article 141.

Local Governance

  • The state is divided into administrative units, including governorates, cities, and villages. Other administrative units may be created as necessary. (Article 149)
  • The state will work to fulfill the needs of these local administrative units. (Article 150)
  • The law will determine the selection of governors and local administrative heads. (Article 152)
  • Each administrative unit will elect a local council by direct vote for a term of four years. Candidates must be at least 21 years old. (Article 153)

The Judiciary

  • The independence of the judiciary is affirmed by Article 157.
  • Judges are independent and cannot be dismissed. The law determines their appointments and retirements. (Article 159)
  • Court hearings will be public unless the court decides otherwise. (Article 160)
  • The Prosecutor-General will be appointed by the President after approval from the Supreme Judicial Council. (Article 162)
  • The State Council is an independent judiciary body to adjudicate administrative disputes and provide advice in certain legal matters, as determined by Article 163.
  • The Supreme Constitutional Court is an independent judiciary body that reviews legislation and interprets laws, as per Article 163.

The Armed Forces and Police

  • The Minister of Defense is the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. (Article 170)
  • The components and duties of the National Defense Council are laid out by Article 172.
  • Civilians may not be tried before a military court unless they are involved in a crime that directly affects the Armed Forces (these crimes are determined by the law). (Article 173)
  • The components and duties of the National Security Council are laid out by Article 174.
  • The role of the police is laid out in Article 175.

National Bodies

  • The National Electoral Commission governs all steps of referendum and parliamentary, presidential, and local elections. (Article 176)
  • The role of the National Media Council is laid out in Article 179.
  • The role of the National Body for the Press is laid out in Article 180.

General and Transitional Provisions

  • All provisions and rules established before the issuance of the Constitution remain in force and may not be amended or repealed except as determined by the Constitution. (Article 186)
  • Elections for People’s Assembly and local administrative units will implement an individual list voting system. (Article 190)
  • The interim President will remain in power until the elected President is sworn in. (Article 193)
  • The Constitutional Declarations of July 6 and July 8, 2013 are to be repealed, while their effects are to remain in force. (Article 196)
  • This Constitution will go into effect when a majority of voters approve it in a referendum election. (Article 197)

Note: While many of the aforementioned rights are guaranteed by the Constitution, the text of the document also notes that many of these rights are conditional upon being in “accordance with the law.”

This post originally appeared on Mai El-Sadany’s blog.