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Egypt: Constitution Approved in Popular Referendum

(Jan. 30, 2014) On January 19, 2014, a final draft of the Egyptian Constitution was approved by 98% of voters in a popular referendum. Chief Justice Nabil Saleeb Awadallah, the Head of the Supreme National Electoral Commission, announced in a formal public session that the voter turnout was 38.6% of the 53 million eligible to vote. The new Constitution replaces the 2012 Constitution issued under the administration of former President Mohammed Morsi. After being signed by the interim President, Adley Mansour, the new Constitution will come into force on the date it is published in the official gazette. (98% of the Voters Supported the Final Draft of the Constitution: Turnout Is 38.6% [in Arabic], AL QABAS (Jan. 19, 2014.)

Under the new Constitution:

  • the President will serve two four-year terms and can be impeached by Parliament;
  • Islam remains the state religion, but freedom of belief is absolute, which gives some protection to minorities;
  • the state guarantees “equality between men and women;”
  • political parties may not be formed based on “religion, race, gender, or geography;” and
  • the military is to appoint a defense minister to hold office for the next eight years. (Constitution of 2013 [in Arabic] (Jan. 2014), the Constituent Assembly website.)