CAIRO: Jurists warned that the new draft of the constitution could be deemed invalid, if the 50-member committee, tasked with amending the 2012 constitution, exceeds the deadline established by the constitutional declaration, Nov. 8.
“The committee must finish the final draft of the constitutional amendments within 60 days from the date of receiving the proposal of the 10-member committee of legal experts”, the constitutional declaration stated.
Reportedly, the presidential decision to authorize the 50-member committee was issued on Sept. 7, while the committee’s first meeting was held on Sept. 8, the same day it received the proposal from the 10-member committee. This would mean that the 60-day deadline is next Friday, Nov. 8.
The 50-member committee, on the other hand, disputes the deadline as a misinterpretation, reading “60-days” as “working days.” That would exclude weekends and holidays, notably Eid al-Adha, the largest holiday of the year, which took place mid-October. The committee ensured that it has otherwise worked five days a week, an average of 20 days per month.
Spokesperson of the committee Mohamed Salmawy said that the deadline date extends over three months not two, announcing “the committee will end its work in Dec. 3.”
The controversy extends beyond the committee and the courts, however. Member of the Salafi Nour Party and previously a member of the Constituent Assembly of 2012 constitution, Nour el-Din Ali, defended the jurists, saying that “the constitutional declaration was clear and stated that the committee had to finish the draft during 60 days, not 60 working days.”
He suggested the committee could overcome this dilemma by considering the deadline “regulatory,” where if it exceeded the date, it would not be deemed as a violation to the constitutional declaration.
Sameh Ashour, rapporteur of committee’s subcommittee on societal communication and dialogue, insisted that they will work for another month. He told Youm7 that “it was agreed the committee will have 60 working days, which indicates that the 50-member committee will continue its work until the beginning of December.”