Egyptian Constitutional Declaration of 2011
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|Provisional Constitution of Egypt|
|Created||March 30, 2011|
|Author(s)||Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt|
|Purpose||Fundamental Law of Egypt|
|This article is part of a series on the
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The Constitutional Declaration of 2011 (also known as the Provisional Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt) was a measure adopted by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt on 30 March 2011. The declaration was intended to serve as the fundamental law of the country pending the enactment of a permanent constitution, following the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February.
The provisional declaration consisted of 63 articles, including a number of amendments approved by referendum. It defined the powers of the executive and judiciary, and stipulated presidential and legislative election processes, paving the way for the 2011 parliamentary elections and the 2012 presidential election. It required that the newly elected parliament form a new constitutional drafting committee - the Constituent Assembly of Egypt - to write a permanent constitution for Egypt. On November 30, 2012 a draft constitution was approved by the Assembly.
The declaration declared Egypt to be a "democratic state", deriving its sovereignty from the people, and a part of the Arab world. It proclaimed the system of government to be a multi-party semi-presidential system within the framework of the basic principles and components of Egyptian society.
The declaration aimed to establish a party plurality as the foundation of the political system (Article 1) and to allow the formation of different political parties; however it declared that parties were not allowed to be established based on any sectarian basis such as religion, race or sex (Article 4).
The declaration stated that "individual freedom is a natural right" and that all citizens are equal. It guaranteed a set of freedoms including the "right to protect the private life of citizens"(Article 8), "freedom of belief and the freedom of practising religious rights" (Article 12), "freedom of expression" (Article 12), freedom of the press and other publications (Article 13), freedom of peaceful and unarmed private assembly, without the need for prior notice (Article 16), universal suffrage, and the right to form civil societies (Article 4).
Delegations and exercise of sovereignty
The executive branch is made up of the President, the Prime Minister, the cabinet of ministers and the local administration. The President appoints the Prime Minister from the party winning the majority of seats in parliament. However the President has the power to relieve the Prime Minister from office without the parliament’s approval and may also remove the cabinet of ministers but after the consultations of the prime minister. The President serves for a four-year term with a limit of two terms.
A candidate is eligible for office after meeting the following qualifications: The nominee must be an Egyptian citizen of at least 40 years of age, have never held another citizenship, and must not be married to a foreigner. Both of the nominee’s parents must be Egyptian citizens, and have never held foreign citizenship. The nominee must not be under a suspension of political and civic rights. (Article 26)
Article 27 defines the different tracks for nomination which candidates may choose in presidential elections: - Nominees must win the endorsement of 30 elected members of Parliament; - Nominees must win the endorsement of 30,000 registered voters from 15 governorates with at least 1000 endorsements from each of those governorates; - Parties with at least one elected seat in parliament may nominate one of their members in presidential elections.
According to the constitution, the parliament is made up of two chambers: The People’s Assembly, the lower house, and the Shura Council, the upper house. The parliament will assume its legislative powers from the military council after its elections in November 2011.
According to the constitution, the Judiciary is an independent body and is vested with powers to oversee the practices of both the executive and legislative branches. Judges are independent and can not be taken out of office.
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After reviewing the constitutional declaration issued in 13 February, and results of the referendum on the constitutional amendments of 19 March 2011, where were announced in 20 March 2011, and in consideration of the statement issued by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces in 23 March 2011,
The Supreme Council of Armed Forces has decreed the following;
The Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic state based on citizenship. The Egyptian people are part of the Arab nation and work for the realization of its comprehensive unity.
Islam is the religion of the state and the Arabic language is its official language. Principles of Islamic law (Shari’a) are the principal source of legislation.
Sovereignty is for the people alone and they are the source of authority. The people shall exercise and protect this sovereignty, and safeguard the national unity.
Citizens have the right to establish associations, syndicates, federations, and parties according to the law. It is forbidden to form associations whose activities are opposed to the order of society or secret or of militaristic nature. No political activity shall be exercised nor political parties established on a religious referential authority, on a religious basis or on discrimination on grounds of gender or origin.
Public property is protected, and its defense and support is a duty incumbent on every citizen, according to the law. Private property is safeguard, and it is not permitted to impose guardianship over it except through means stated in law and by court ruling. Property cannot be seized except for the public benefit and in exchange for compensation according to the law, and the right of inheritance is guaranteed.
Law applies equally to all citizens, and they are equal in rights and general duties. They may not be discriminated against due to race, origin, language, religion, or creed.
Personal freedom is a natural right, safeguarded and inviolable, and except in the case of being caught in the act of violation, it is not permitted for anyone to be detained or searched or to be freedom restricted, or movement prevented, except by a warrant order compelling the necessity of investigation or to safeguard the security of society. This warrant order shall be issued by a specialized judge or the general prosecutor, according to the law. The law also determines the period for which one may be detained.
Every citizen who is arrested or detained must be treated in a way that preserves his/her human dignity. It is forbidden to be abused psychically or morally, and forbidden to be detained in places outside of those designated by the prisons law. Any statement proven to be extracted from a citizen under threat will not be counted.
Homes are protected and it is not permitted to enter or search them without a warrant according to the law.
The life of citizens has special sanctity protected by law, as do messages sent by post, fax, telephone, or other means of communications, where secrecy is guaranteed. It is not permitted to confiscate, read or censor them, except by court ruling and for a limited time, according to the law.
The state guarantees the freedom of creed, and practicing religious rites.
Freedom of opinion is guaranteed, and every person has the right to express his opinion and publish it spoken, written, photographed, or other form of expression within the law. Personal criticism and constructive criticism are a guarantee for the safety of the national development.
Freedom of the press, printing, publication and media are guaranteed, and censorship is forbidden, as are giving ultimatums and stopping or canceling publication from an administrative channel. Exception may be made in the case of emergency or time of war, allowing limited censorship of newspapers, publication and media on matters related to general safety or the purposes of national security, all according to law.
It is not permitted for any citizen to be denied residence in a particular area, nor requiring him to reside in a particular place, except in cases designated by law.
It is not permitted to expel a citizen from the country or forbid him from returning, or to give up political refugees.
Citizens have the right of private assembly in peace without bearing arms or need for prior notice. It is not permitted for security forces to attend these private meetings. Public meetings, processions and gatherings are permitted within confines of the law.
Any attack on the personal freedom or sanctity of life of citizens or other rights and general freedom guaranteed by the constitution and law is a crime, which will be followed by a criminal or civil suit according to the statute of limitations. The state guarantees fair compensation for whomever experiences such an aggression.
Public taxes will be instituted and their amendment or cancellation will take place by law. No one will be excluded from taxation except in cases stated in law. It is not permitted for anyone to charge another to pay taxes or fees except within the bounds of law.
Personal penalty. There will be no crime or penalty except according to the law. Punishment will not take place except by judicial ruling, nor will punishment occur for acts that take place before enactment of the relevant law.
The accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law that guarantees for him defense. Every accused in a crime is required to have an attorney to defend him.
Litigation is a safeguarded and guaranteed right for all people, and every citizen has the right to resort to his natural judge. The state guarantees close association of judicial apparatuses with litigants, in addition to a speedy trial of matters. The text of law forbids any action or administrative decision from being absolved of judicial oversight.
The right to defend oneself in person or by proxy is guaranteed. The law guarantees those unable monetarily to defend themselves to resort to the judiciary for means to defend their rights.
Anyone arrested or detained will be notified of the reason for his detainment immediately. He has the right to contact whomever he desires and inform them of the arrest and seek help, according to the law. It is necessary that accusations be announced with haste, and the detained has the right to appeal in front of the judiciary to determine the circumstances in which his personal freedom was suspended. The law organizes the right to present a grievance in order to guarantee a decision in a limited time period, or else the detainee is inevitably released.
Laws are issued and executed in the name of people. Suspension or avoidance of their execution on the part of public employees is a crime punishable by law. The plaintiff has the right to bring the criminal case directly to a specialized court.
The President of the State is the president of the republic. He shall assert the sovereignty of the people, respect for the constitution and sovereignty of the law, and the defense of national unity and social justice, according to means stipulated in this Announcement and the law.
He shall undertake upon assuming his position responsibilities referred to in article 56 of this announcement, except for what is stipulated in provisions 1 and 2 of the article.
It is required for whoever is elected president of the republic to be an Egyptian who has never held another citizenship, born of two Egyptian parents who have never held another citizenship enjoying his political and civil rights, not married to a non-Egyptian, and not falling under the age of 40 years.
The president will be elected directly by general secret ballot. To be nominated for the presidency of the republic, a candidate must be supported by 30 members at least of the elected members of the People's Assembly and Shoura Council, or the candidate may be obtain the support of at least 30,000 citizens, who have the right to vote, in at least 15 provinces whereby the number of supports in any of the provinces is at least 1,000
In all cases, it is no permissible to support more than one candidate, and the law will stipulate the procedures for this matter. Every political party with members who have won at least one seat by way of election in either of the People's Assembly or Shoura Council in the last elections may nominate one of its members of the presidency.
A supreme judicial commission named the "President Elections Commission" will supervise the election of the president republic beginning with the announcement of the opening of candidate nomination and ending with the announcement of the election result.
The commission will be composed of the president of the Supreme Constitutional Court as the head, and a membership made up on the president of the Cairo Appeals Court, the most senior deputies of the president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the most senior deputies of the president of the Court of Cassation and the most senior deputies of the president of the State Council
The Commission's decisions will be final and carry the force law, and will not subject to objections from any party, in the same manner as it is forbidden for the decisions to be stopped or canceled. The purview of Commission will be by law. The Commission will form committees to supervise voting and counting according to the stipulations in article 39. Draft legislation for presidential elections will be shown to the Supreme Constitutional Court before being issued to determine the extent of compliance with the constitution.
The Supreme Constitutional Court will issue its decision on this matter within 15 days of receiving the draft legislation. If it decides that the text is unconstitutional, more work must be done before the law can be issued. In all cases, the decision of the Court will be obligatory for all authorities of the state, and will be published in the official gazette within three days of being releases.
The period of presidency is four years beginning from the date of announcing the result of the election, and the president of the republic may not run for more than one additional presidential term.
The president will take the following oath before the People's Assembly before assuming his position "I swear to God that I will faithfully preserve the republican order, that I will respect the constitution and the law, and look after the interests of the people comprehensively, and that will preserve the independence of the nation and the safety of its land."
The president of the republic will appoint within a maximum of 30 days after assuming his duties at least one vice president and determine his responsibilities, so that in the case of his stepping down from the position of the president, another will be appointed on his place. The conditions that must be met by the president will apply, as will rules governing the accountability for vice presidents of the republic.
The People's Assembly Council will be composed of a number of members determined by law to be at least 350, half of whom at least will be Workers and Peasants. The members of the People's Assembly Council will be elected by a direct, public and secret election. The law stipulates the definition of a Worker and Peasant, as well as the electoral districts that the state will be divided into. It is possible for the president of the republic to appoint in the People's Assembly a number of the members, not to exceed 10.
Immediately upon election, the People's Assembly Council will assume the authority to legislate and determine the public policy of the state, the general plan for economic and social development, and the public budget of the state. It will also oversee the work of the executive branch.
Terms of the People's Assembly Council will be five years starting from the date of its first assembly.
The Shoura Council will be composed of a number of members determined by law not to be fewer than 132 members, two-thirds of whom will be elected by direct, public and secret voting (at least half workers and half peasants), and one-third of whom will be appointed by the president of the republic.
The law determines the electoral districts for the Shoura Council.
Terms of the Shoura Council membership will be 6 years.
The Shoura Council will assume its responsibilities upon election. It will study and recommend what it views as necessary to preserve support for national unity and social peace and protect the foundational elements of society and its highest values, in addition to rights, freedoms and general obligations. The Council will consider the following;
- 1- The project of general planning for economic and social development
- 2- Draft laws referred by the president of the republic.
- 3- Whatever the president of the republic refers to the Council on subjects related to the state's public policy or policies related to the Arab and foreign affairs.
The council will notify the president and the People's Assembly Council of its opinion on these matters.
The law will govern the right of candidacy for the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils according to the determined electoral system including at a minimum the participation of women in both assemblies.
The law determines the conditions that must be met for members of the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils, stipulating electoral and referenda provisions. A supreme commission made entirely of judges will assume the responsibility of supervision elections of referenda, from the determination of electoral schedules to the announcing of election results, all as regulated by law. Voting and the counting of votes will take place under their higher councils, and the decision in the process of choosing them will undertaken by the supreme commission.
The Court of Cassation will be designated to determine the integrity of the membership of the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils, and objections will be presented to the court within 30 days of the announcement of elections results. The Court will rule on the objection within 90 days of receiving it. The membership is considered void on the date which the two assembles are informed of the Court's decision.
Electoral procedures will begin within months of the publication of this Announcement. The Shoura Council will assume its duties with elected members, upon his election, the president of the republic will appoint the final third of the Council's membership, who will serve out of the remainder of the term of the Council as regulated by the law.
Every member of the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils will swear to conduct work in accordance with the following oath in front of his legislative body " I swear to God that I will faithfully preserve the safety of the nation and the republican order, that I will look after the interests of the people and respect the constitution and the law".
It is not permissible for any member of the People's Assembly or Shoura Councils during his tenure to busy or rent anything using state money, or to rent out or sell anything with said money, or barter with it or enter into a contract with the state as an entrepreneur, importer, or contractor.
It is not permissible to remove the membership of any members of the People's Assembly or Shoura Councils unless he has lost confidence and esteem, or any of the condition of membership, or his position as Worker or Peasant based on which he was elected, or if he has breached any of responsibilities of membership. A decision to remove membership must be issued by a two-thirds majority of the respective assembly.
It is not permissible in any case except that of flagrant violation to take any criminal proceedings against a member of the People's Assembly or Shoura Councils, except with prior permission from his assembly. In the case of the assembly's recess, permission will be taken from the head of the assembly and will be subsequently presented to the assembly upon resumption of work.
Judicial authority is independent and invested in courts of different varieties and degrees. Rulings will be issued according to the law.
Judges are independent and not subjected to removal. The law regulates disciplinary actions against them. There is no authority over them except that of the law, and its not permissible for any authority to interfere in their issues or matters of justice.
The State Council is an independent judicial body that specializes in adjudication of administrative disputes and disciplinary claims. The law determines its other responsibilities.
The Supreme Constitutional Court is an independent and autonomous judicial body, uniquely tasked with judicial oversight over the constitutionality of laws and regulations. It deals with the interpretations of legislative texts, all as stipulated in the law. The law also designates other responsibilities for the Court and regulates the procedures followed in front of it.
The law determines judicial bodies and their responsibilities and regulates their formation, in addition to stipulating conditions and procedures for appointing their members and their transfer.
The law regulates the military judicial system and stipulates its responsibilities in line with constitutional principles.
Court sessions are to be public except in the case that the court decides to make them secret in the interest of public order or morals. In all cases, the verdict is announced in a public session.
The armed forces are the property of the people. Their mission is the protection of the country and the safety and security of its lands. It is not permissible for anybody or group to establish military or paramilitary formations. The defense of the country and its land is sacred responsibility, and conscription is mandatory according to the law. The law stipulates the conditions for military service and promotion in the armed forces.
A council entitles "The National Defense Council" will be established. It will be headed by the president of the republic and tasked with evaluating affairs concerned with means of securing the country and its safety. The law will stipulate its other responsibilities.
The police are a civil order body whose responsibility is to serve the people. The police guarantee for the people tranquility and security and provide for the maintenance of order, public security and morals, according to the law.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces deals with the administration of the affairs of the country. To achieve this, it has directly the following;
- 1- Legislation
- 2- Issuing public policy for the state and the public budget and ensuring its implementation
- 3- Appointing the members of the People's Assembly Council
- 4- Calling the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils to enter into normal session, adjourn, or hold an extraordinary session, and adjourn said session
- 5- The right to promulgate laws or object to them
- 6- Represent the state domestically and abroad, sign international treaties and agreements, and be considered a part of the legal system of the state
- 7- Appoint the prime minister and his deputies, ministers and their deputies, as well as relieve them from their duties
- 8- Appoint civilian and military employees and political representatives, as well as dismiss them according to the law; accredit foreign political representative
- 9- Pardon or reduce punishment, through blanket amnesty is granted only by law
- 10-Other authorities and responsibilities as determined by the president of the republic pursuit to laws and regulations. The Council shall have the power to delegate its head or one of its members to take on its responsibilities
The Cabinet of Ministers and the ministers shall assume executive authority in all that pertains to them, and the Cabinet in particular will be responsible for;
- 1- Participate with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to put in place public policies of the state and supervise their implementation, according to the laws and resolutions of the republic
- 2- Direct, coordinate, and follow the work of the ministries and their related fronts, in addition to public institutions and bodies
- 3- Issue administrative and executive orders according to laws, regulations, and decisions, and see to their implementation
- 4- Prepare draft legislation, regulations and decrees
- 5- Prepare a draft public budget for the state
- 6- Prepare a draft public plan for the state
- 7- Contract and grant loans according to the constitutional principles
- 8- Note the implementation of laws, preservation of state security, and protection of citizen rights and state interests
It is not permissible for a minister during his tenure to engage in an independent profession, buy or rent anything using state money, rent out or sell anything with state money, or barter with state money.
The president of the republic, after taking into account the opinion of the cabinet, can announce a state of emergency as stipulated in law. He must present this announcement to the People's Assembly Council within the seven subsequent days to decide its view on this matter. If the state of emergency is announced in a period of recess, the Assembly must be called back to session immediately to review the matter, taking into account the time limit mentioned above. If the People's Assembly Council is dissolved, the matter will be reviewed by the new Assembly at its first meeting. A majority of the members of the People's Assembly Council must agree to the announcement of state of emergency. In all cases, the announcement of a state of emergency will be for a limited time period not exceeding 6 months. It is not permissible to extent it, except after a people's referendum on the matter and their agreement to an extension.
The members of the first People's Assembly and Shoura Councils (except the appointed members) will meet in a joint session following an invitation from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces within 6 months of their election to elect a provisional assembly composed of 100 members which will prepare a new draft constitution for the country to be completed within 6 months of the formation of this assembly. The draft constitution will be presented within 15 days of its preparation to the people who will vote in a referendum on the matter. The constitution will take effect from the date on which the people approve the referendum.
The Supreme Council of Armed Forces will continue directly with its limited responsibilities following this announcement, until a time at which the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils assume their responsibilities and the president of the republic is elected and assumes his position.
All laws and regulations decided upon before the publication of this announcement remain valid and implemented; however, it is possible to cancel laws or amend them according to the rules and procedures adopted in this announcement.
This announcement will be published in the official gazette and will be in effect the day following its publication.
- CNN "Egypt to announce new working constitution." March 2011.
- BBC "Egypt referendum strongly backs constitution changes" March 2011
- Arabic Text of the provisional constitution
- English Translation of the provisional Constitution
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