Egypt: Constitution

Updated January 2013

CONSTITUTION Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt 2012[1]
FORM OF STATE Muslim unitary Arab republic[2]
HEAD OF STATE The President is the Head of State, chief of the executive authority and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces[3]. The President is elected by direct secret ballot and with an absolute majority of valid votes; the President serves a term of four years, and may be reelected only once[4]
EXECUTIVE The President is the chief of the executive authority and appoints the the Prime Minister, who forms a government that must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives, and summons and presides over cabinet meetings[5]. The President in conjunction with the Cabinet lays out public policy and oversees its implementation; presidential authority is exercised through the Prime Minister and cbinet members, except those authorities related to defense, national security and foreign policy[6].
LEGISLATURE Legislative power is vested in the House of Representatives and the Shura Council[7]. The House of Representatives must have at least 350 members who are elected by direct, secret public balloting and serve a term of five years[8]. The Shura Council must have at least 150 members that are elected by direct secret ballot and the President may appoint a number of members not more than one-tenth of the number of elected members; all members serve a term of six years[9]
JUDICIARY The judiciary is comprised (amongst others) of the State Council, the Supreme Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, the Courts of Appeal, the Supreme Administrative Court and the Military Judiciary[10]
AMENDMENTS An amendment must be approved by a two-thirds majority of House of Representatives and of the Shura Council, be put to public referendum within 30 days and the amendment is effective from the date of announcement of the referendum result[11]
DEMOCRACY PROTECTION AGENCIES A National Council for Human Rights is mentioned in the Constitution, which must inform the Public Prosecution of any violation of these rights, which may join an injured party in a civil action and which may appeal on an injured part's behalf[12]
The National Electoral Commission is responsible for managing referenda and presidential, parliamentary and local elections in toto and its 10 members are elected by a variety of judicaial bodies[13]

Notes

[1] The Constitution 2012 was endorsed by the electorate in a popular referendum held on 15 December and 22 December 2012 (see December 2012 Constitutional referendum results). The Constitution came into force on 25 December 2012 when the results of referendum approving the Constitution were announced (Article 225).
[2] Constitution 2012, Articles 1,2. However, Article 3 provides that "the canon principles of Egyptian Christians and Jews are the main source of legislation for their personal status laws, religious affairs, and the selection of their spiritual leaders".
[3] Constitution 2012, Article 132, 146.
[4] Constitution 2012, Articles 133, 136. The term of President Mursi that began in 2012 comes to an end four years from him taking office (ie in 2016), and he may be re-elected only once more (Article 226).
[5] Constitution 2012, Article 132, 139, 143. The House of Representatives may pass a motion of confidence in the Prime Minister, a deputy of the Prime Minister, or any one of the ministers and may force that member, or all the members of the cabinet, to resign (Article 126).
[6] Constitution 2012, Articles 140, 141. The President of the Republic may also exercise authorities outlined in Articles 139, 145, 146, 147, 148 and 149 without reference to the Prime Minister (Article 141).
[7] Constitution 2012, Article 82, 116. In the first parliamentary elections after the adoption of the 2012 Constitution, ito Article 231, "shall be held in the following manner: Two-thirds of the seats are to be won by a list-based electoral system and one-third by individual candidacy, with parties and independent candidates allowed to run in each".
[8] Constitution 2012, Articles 114, 115. The manner in which the members are to be elected is left to be defined by electoral law (see also Article 224).
[9] Constitution 2012, Articles 128-130. Half of the members, whether elected or nominated, retire every three years. The manner in which the elected members are to be elected is left to be defined by electoral law (see also Article 224).
[10] Constitution 2012, Articles 173-175, 198, 211. The Constitution says little on the composition of the courts and the appointment of their members, these matters are left to be determined by subsidiary legislation.
[11] Constitution 2012, Articles 217, 218.
[12] Constitution 2012, Article 80. There is, however, no further mention of the National Council for Human Rights and its composition, appoinment and functions are not delimitated in the Constitution.
[13] Constitution 2012, Articles 208, 209.

Reference

CONSTITUTION OF THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT 2012, [www] http://www.democracy-reporting.org/files/egypt_draft_constitution_unofficial_translation_dri.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 10 Jan 2013).