Egypt: 2011 Constitutional referendum

Updated January 2012

After Mubarak's resignation on 11 February 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced that it would remain in charge of the country until the election of a new president. The military, headed by de facto Head of State Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, suspended the 1971 Constitution and dissolved the People's Assembly and the Shura Council. A Constitution Referendum, held on 19 March 2011, marked the first step in the transition process set in place by the SCAF as the constitutional amendments adopted in this referendum formed part of the legal framework for the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections and the 2012 presidential election. Some groups called for the boycott of the referendum, demanding an overhaul of the constitutional framework. The turnout of the referendum was 41.2% of 45 million eligible voters, and 77% approved the constitutional changes.

After a referendum of March 2011, the SCAF issued a Constitutional Declaration. The changes endorsed in the referendum and promulgated by the SCAF included:

  • Limiting the terms of the president to two consecutive terms of four years each;
  • obliging the president to choose a deputy within 30 days of election;
  • requiring that presidential candidates with be at least 40 years old and not married to a non-Egyptian; and
  • entrenching judicial supervision of the entire electoral process.