The speech of Dr. Hafez Abu Saeda at the parliament in the national dialogue sessions on constitutional amendments on 28/3/2019

March 28th, 2019 by Editor

The speech of Dr. Hafez Abu Saeda at the parliament in the national dialogue sessions on constitutional amendments on 28/3/2019

Dr. Ali Abdel-Aal

Your Excellency speaker of the parliament

at the beginning, I would like to thank you for inviting us to participate in the community dialogue on the constitutional amendments submitted by the MP’s. We appreciate your keenness to invite all the supporting and opposing opinions to participate in the discussions and to emphasize the values of democracy and pluralism. We hope that this discussion will produce final proposals for these articles reflecting consensus in the best interests of the Egyptian state. These are my remarks on some of the following articles:

First: regarding the article 102, I totally agree with the sought to consolidate the representation of women in the seats of the parliament through the quota system with a share of not less than a quarter, which is very important and consistent with the United Nations Convention to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW), for so-called positive discrimination in favour of marginalized groups in order to be able to get involved in the electoral battles after removing the social restrictions.
Second: as for article 140[1], I think that the text of article 226[2] concerning the ban on the amendment of article 140, concerns the non-modification of the term of the presidency and not the number of years of the period, therefore the increase from 4 to 6 years does not contradict with article 226. However, the transitional article raises the question: Is it permissible in a limited amendment in the Constitution to include a transitional article taking into account that there is a theory of the immediate impact of the enforcement of legal and constitutional articles. Thus, I see that the transitional article contradicts with article 226.
Third: article (160), regarding the creation of the post of vice president of the Republic, I see that this requires the same conditions required by the Constitution in the nomination of any person for the post of President. The second point, I suggest that the vice president should be elected with the President in one paper.

as for the establishment of a higher council of judicial bodies, the president head up the council as the president of the republic therefore, this is not considered as interference in the judicial authority, Nevertheless, in the absence of the President, the Minister of Justice shall replace him, in this case it could be considered as an intervention by the Executive authority. Thus, I propose that the head of the higher council who will replace the president should be the president of the court of cassation.
In this context, I hope that during the final formulations, the judicial independence of the judiciary will be financially and administratively respected in all judicial affairs in accordance with the standards of international human rights instruments which are mentioned in the Egyptian Constitution in article 93[3]
Fifth: regarding the article 190, I hope to retain on the jurisdiction of the State Council to formulate draft laws and resolutions that have a legislative nature in order to ensure the good editing as well as it is an additional guarantee for the legislation, Unless, real legislative powers are given to the Senate in order to complement the role of the parliament. In this matter, we are confident that the legislation passed two degrees, which is appropriate in the editing and taking into account the constitutional aspect as well.
Sixth: in relation to article 204, it is necessary to keep it as it is, especially as it contains a clear text at the beginning of the second paragraph states that no trial for civilians should be held before the military courts except for crimes that represent a direct assault against military facilities, military barracks, or whatever falls under their authority.
Seventh: regarding the establishment of the Senate as an upper chamber, I think that this proposal is very important in the case of giving the Senate specific legislative powers that would be competent to consider all the laws complementary to the Constitution so it should be discussed in the Senate first before the parliament.
Second, it is necessary to stipulate in the law on the election of the members of the Senate, specific criteria for one-third of the members that are chosen by the President of the Republic relating to the representation of specific parties and groups such as the representation of trade and professional unions, leaders of parties not represented in parliament, representatives of civil society, federations and organizations.

Thank You

[1] Article 140 of the Egyptian constitution 2014: “the President of the Republic is elected for a period of four calendar years, commencing on the day the term of his predecessor ends. The President may only be re-elected once”.

[2] Article 226 of the Egyptian constitution 2014: “In all cases, texts pertaining to the re-election of the president of the republic or the principles of freedom and equality stipulated in this Constitution may not be amended, unless the amendment brings more guarantees”.

[3] Article 93 of the Egyptian constitution 2014: “The state is committed to the agreements, covenants, and international conventions of human rights that were ratified by Egypt. They have the force of law after publication in accordance with the specified circumstances”.

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