Expert: Draft constitution inadequate, unconstitutional

Prominent constitutional expert Ibrahim Darwish described the draft constitution completed by the Constituent Assembly last Friday as inadequate for Egypt.

During a seminar at the Judges Club Monday afternoon, Darwish decried what he called “the bad experience we are undergoing during the constitution-writing process.” He said the document “is not suitable for Egypt by any means,” and could instead be “taught for first graders.”

President Mohamed Morsy called for a national constitutional referendum Saturday after Constituent Assembly Chairperson Hossam al-Gheriany handed him the document in an official ceremony.

The assembly had seen withdrawals by several non-Islamist members in protest of some of the document's articles, as well as Islamists’ domination of the assembly.

Morsy’s call came amid protests supporting and condemning a constitutional declaration he made on 22 November, which granted him legislative powers not subject to judicial review.

Darwish said the draft contained unconstitutional provisions concerning freedoms, legislation and the judiciary. He said Egypt, unlike the US, India and France, is a “simple” country; therefore there is no need for two chambers of Parliament, given the cost it requires.

Darwish said the Constituent Assembly dissolution and the president’s subsequent decision to shield it from dissolution, as well as granting the Shura Council, the upper house of Parliament, the powers of the lower house, were all unprecedented measures.

“Without the rule of law, which you embody, there will be no room for talks on democracy or legitimacy,” Darwish said, addressing the judges who attended the seminar. “This is not the way to draft a constitution — not even a vulgar song, excuse my language.”

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