Draft Constitution: Army Autonomy & Greater Secularism
BMI View : Egypt's draft constitution is another tentative step towards a return to an elected government and underlines our view that the worst of the political crisis in the country has passed. The proposed constitution, if passed, will increase the secular nature of government and enshrine the independence of the army.
Egypt's draft constitution is another tentative step towards a return to an elected government and underlines our view that the worst of the political crisis in the country has passed. The date of the referendum on the constitution has yet to be confirmed but is likely to be at the end of January, with parliamentary and presidential elections following in Q214. Whilst, there is a significant likelihood for protests at the time of each vote, we believe that on the whole these votes will mark steady progress back towards a popularly elected regime and a reduction in political risks. The order of parliamentary and presidential elections has not been decided and there is a chance that presidential elections will be held first. This is a relatively significant change and answers concerns that the new parliament is likely to be highly fragmented and thus the election of a president first would ensure greater political stability.
The draft constitution marks a significant break from the previous version under the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly regarding the role of Islam and the army. The draft allows military trials for civilians and avoids scrutiny of the arm's spending by listing its budget as a single entry in the national accounts. In addition, over the next eight years, a council of top commanders will have to approve the defence minister. A final key development is putting the army in a position where they are almost outside of politics, with the government decreeing that Egyptian soldiers will not be required to swear loyalty directly to the president of the country.
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