The Nation



Draft Constitution a landmark for Egyptian democracy

Re: "Egyptian Constitution cements military's grip on power", Editorial, December 15.

This editorial is a prime example of historical incongruity, confirmation bias and logical fallacies. Above all, it illustrates the author's complete lack of understanding of the current situation and the triggers of the June 30 Revolution.

Rejuvenated by a sense of pride and nationalism, a committee of 50 individuals representing a diverse sample of Egypt's population was created to redraft the Constitution. After six months it will put the draft to a nationwide referendum on January 14-15 - a process as democratic as similar ones adopted in numerous countries.

The author makes extensive accusations built on his own biased assumptions or lack of comprehension of the draft Constitution. Unlike its predecessor, forced through a questionable committee of 100 members in 24 hours on November 30, 2012, the current draft has been hailed as a landmark achievement for women's and children's rights (see Articles 11, 80 and 180), an illustration of check-and-balance governance (Articles 159 and 161 on presidential impeachment and the withdrawal of confidence, and Article 234 on the approval process and limitations on defence ministers), an illustration of the freedom of belief and expression (Articles 64 and 65), the right to organise public meetings and all forms of peaceful protest (Article 73), and a foundation for non-violence (Articles 52 and 89 banning all forms of torture and trafficking). Unlike the author's rampant baseless accusations, these points represent incontrovertible facts.

The author builds his argument on emotional appeals, most appallingly by stating, "This so-called roadmap to democracy is a slap in the face for the Egyptian people". Inreality, June 30 was an unprecedented act of mass civic engagement by 30 million Egyptians who took to the streets to call for a new transitional government and stood against tyranny, economic collapse, civil strife and blatant nepotism.

Finally, while acknowledging the author's right to a personal opinion, public statement based on pretence or the intention to mislead the masses is undoubtedly malicious. With the vote on the draft Constitution nearing, followed by parliamentary elections then presidential elections, the journey will continue for a better tomorrow.

Ismail Khairat

Ambassador of Egypt to Thailand

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