CAIRO - President Mohammed Morsi has reportedly signed a decree Wednesday that activates Egypt's new Constitution, after nearly 64% of voters approved its adoption in a referendum that concluded this past weekend.
Opposition leaders have vowed to try to overturn the new Constitution, saying its language is vague and does not protect freedom of speech or religion. Still, it is, for now at least, the law of the land. Here is the full Constitution translated into English:
We, the people of Egypt,
In the name of the merciful God and with his aid,
declare this to be
Our Constitution, the document of the 25th of January revolution, which was started by our youth, embraced by our people, supported by our Armed Forces;
Having rejected, in Tahrir Square and all over the country all forms of injustice, oppression, tyranny, despotism, exclusion, plunder and monopoly;
Proclaimed our full rights to “bread, freedom, social justice, and human dignity,” paid for by the blood of our martyrs, the pain of our injured, the dreams of our children, the strife of our men and women;
Recovered the spirit of our great civilization and our luminous history, for on the banks of the timeless Nile we established the oldest state that has always known the meaning of citizenship and equality, gave humanity the first alphabet, opened the way to monotheism and the knowledge of the Creator, embraced God’s prophets and messages, and adorned the pages of history with parades of creativity;
And in continuation of our virtuous revolution which has unified all Egyptians on the path of building a modern democratic state, we declare our adherence to the following principles:
The people are the source of all authorities. Authorities are instituted by and derive their legitimacy from the people, and are subject to the people’s will. The responsibilities and competencies of authorities are a duty to bear, not a privilege or a source of immunity.
A democratic system of government, establishing the grounds for peaceful transfer of power, supporting political pluralism, ensuring fair elections and the people’s contribution in the decision-making process.
The individual’s dignity is an extension of the nation’s dignity. Further, there is no dignity for a country in which women are not honored; women are the sisters of men and partners in all national gains and responsibilities.
Freedom is a right: freedom of thought, expression and creativity; freedom in housing, property and travel; its principles laid down by the Creator in the motion of the universe and human nature.
Equality and equal opportunities are established for all citizens, men and women, without discrimination or nepotism or preferential treatment, in both rights and duties.
The rule of law is the basis of the individual’s freedom, the legitimacy of authority, and the state’s respect of the law. No power shall override that of righteousness, and the judiciary shall be independent, bearer of the honorable mission of defending the Constitution, upholding justice, and preserving rights and freedoms.
Upholding national unity is an obligation, and the cornerstone of building a modern Egypt and the path to progress and development. To that end, the values of tolerance and moderation shall be spread, and the rights and freedoms of all citizens shall be protected without discrimination.
Defending the nation is a duty and an honor. Our Armed Forces form a professional and neutral national institution that does not interfere in political affairs. It is the protective shield of the country.
Security is a great blessing; it falls on the shoulders of a police force which works in the service of the people, for their protection and to enforce the measures of justice. For there can be no justice without protection, and no protection without security institutions that respect the rule of law and human dignity.
Unity is the hope of the Arab nation; it is history’s call, the future’s bid, and destiny’s demand. Such unity is to be reinforced through the integration and fraternity with countries of the Nile Valley and of the Muslim world, both a natural extension borne out of the distinctiveness of Egypt’s position on the global map.
Egypt’s pioneering intellectual and cultural leadership is an embodiment of its soft power, and a model of the free generosity of original creators and thinkers, universities, science centers, linguistic and research centers, the press, the arts, literature and mass media, the national church, and Al-Azhar with its history as a mainstay of national identity, the Arabic language and Islamic Sharia, and as a beacon for moderate enlightened thought.
We, the people of Egypt,
Out of faith in God and His heavenly messages,
In recognition of the right of the country and the nation,
With awareness of our responsibilities toward the nation and humanity,
Pledge to stay committed to the principles laid out in this Constitution, which we accept and grant to ourselves, affirming our determination to uphold and defend it, and asserting that it shall be protected and respected by the State’s authorities and the general public.
PART I: STATE AND SOCIETY
Chapter One: Political principles
The Arab Republic of Egypt is an independent sovereign state, united and indivisible, its system democratic.The Egyptian people are part of the Arab and Islamic nations, proud of belonging to the Nile Valley and Africa and of its Asian reach, a positive participant in human civilization.
Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation.
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.
Al-Azhar is an encompassing independent Islamic institution, with exclusive autonomy over its own affairs, responsible for preaching Islam, theology and the Arabic language in Egypt and the world. Al-Azhar Senior Scholars are to be consulted in matters pertaining to Islamic law.
The post of Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh is independent and cannot be dismissed. The method of appointing the Grand Sheikh from among members of the Senior Scholars is to be determined by law.
The State shall ensure sufficient funds for Al-Azhar to achieve its objectives.
All of the above is subject to law regulations.
Sovereignty is for the people alone and they are the source of authority. The people shall exercise and protect this sovereignty, and safeguard national unity in the manner specified in the Constitution.
The political system is based on the principles of democracy and shura (counsel), citizenship (under which all citizens are equal in rights and duties), multi-party pluralism, peaceful transfer of power, separation of powers and the balance between them, the rule of law, and respect for human rights and freedoms; all as elaborated in the Constitution.
No political party shall be formed that discriminates on the basis of gender, origin or religion.
Defense of the motherland and its soil is a sacred duty, and conscription is obligatory in accordance with the law.
Chapter Two: Social and ethical principles
The State guarantees the means to achieve justice, equality and freedom, and is committed to facilitating the channels of social charity and solidarity between the members of society, and to ensure the protection of persons and property, and to working toward providing for all citizens; all within the context of the law.
The State shall ensure safety, security and equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination.
The family is the basis of the society and is founded on religion, morality and patriotism.
The State is keen to preserve the genuine character of the Egyptian family, its cohesion and stability, and to protect its moral values, all as regulated by law.
The State shall ensure maternal and child health services free of charge, and enable the reconciliation between the duties of a woman toward her family and her work.
The State shall provide special care and protection to female breadwinners, divorced women and widows.
The State shall safeguard ethics, public morality and public order, and foster a high level of education and of religious and patriotic values, scientific thinking, Arab culture, and the historical and cultural heritage of the people; all as shall be regulated by law.
The State shall safeguard the cultural and linguistic constituents of society, and foster the Arabization of education, science and knowledge.
The institution of civil titles shall be prohibited.
Chapter Three: Economic Principles
National economy shall be organized in accordance with a comprehensive, constant development plan, ensuring the increase of national income, enhancement of standard of living, elimination of poverty and unemployment, increase of work opportunities, and increase of production.
The development plan shall establish social justice and solidarity, ensure equitable distribution, protect consumer rights, and safeguard the rights of workers, dividing development costs between capital and labor and sharing the revenues justly.
Wages shall be linked to production, bridging income gaps and establishing a minimum wage that would guarantee decent living standards for all citizens, and a maximum wage in civil service positions with exemptions regulated by law.
Agriculture is an essential asset of the national economy. The State shall protect and increase farmland, work on the development of crop and plant varieties, develop and protect animal breeds and fisheries, achieve food security, provide the requirements of agricultural production, its good management and marketing, and support agricultural industries.
The law regulates the use of land, in such a way as to achieve social justice, and protect farmers and agricultural laborer from exploitation.
The State is committed to the development of the countryside and the desert, working to raise the standard of living of the farmers and the people of the desert.
Industry is an essential asset of the national economy. The State shall protect strategic industries, support industrial development, and import new technologies and their applications.
The State shall foster small handicraft industries.
The natural resources of the State belong to the people, who have a right to their revenues. The State is committed to preserving such resources for future generations and putting them to good use.
State property is not to be disposed of. The franchise to use, or the commitment to a public utility, can only be granted according to legal regulations.
All money with no owner belongs to the State.
The Nile River and water resources are a national wealth. The State is committed to maintaining and developing them, and preventing abuse. The use of such resources shall be regulated by law.
The State shall protect its coasts, seas, waterways and lakes, maintain monuments and nature reserves, and remove any encroachments.
The State guarantees and protects legitimate ownership of all kinds of public, cooperative and private property and endowments, as shall be regulated by law.
Public funds are inviolable. It is a national duty of the State and society to safeguard them.
The State shall support cooperatives in all forms and ensure their independence.
Private property is inviolable and has a function in the service of national economy without deviation or monopoly. The right of inheritance shall be safeguarded. Private property may not be placed under sequestration except in cases specified by law, and with a court order. Ownership of property may not be removed except in cases where the public good requires and with just compensation paid in advance.
All of the above shall be regulated by law.
The State is committed to reviving and encouraging the system of charitable endowments.The way an endowment is established, the management of its funds, their investment and the distribution of proceeds to the beneficiaries, shall all be regulated by law, according to the terms of the trustee.
Social justice is the foundation of taxation and other public finance duties.
Public taxes shall not be established, modified or repealed except by law. There shall be no exemptions except in the cases prescribed by law. No one shall be required to pay additional taxes or fees except within the limits of the law.
Workers shall have a share of the management and profits of enterprises. They shall be committed in turn to the development of production, to protecting its means and to the implementation of plans in their production units, in accordance with the law.
Workers shall be represented on the boards of directors of public sector units within the limit of 50 percent of the number of members of these boards. The law shall guarantee for small farmers and small craftsmen 80 percent of membership on the boards of directors of agricultural and industrial cooperatives.
Saving is encouraged and protected by the State. The State shall also safeguard insurance and pension funds, in accordance with legal regulations.
Nationalization shall not be allowed except for in consideration of public interest, in accordance with the law and against fair compensation.
Public sequestration of property shall be prohibited.
Private sequestration shall not be allowed except under a court judgment.
PART II: RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Chapter One: Personal rights
Dignity is the right of every human being, safeguarded by the State.
Insulting or showing contempt toward any human being shall be prohibited.
Egyptian nationality is a right, regulated by law.
All citizens are equal before the law. They have equal public rights and duties without discrimination.
Individual freedom is a natural right, safeguarded and inviolable.
Except in cases of flagrante delicto, no person may be arrested, inspected, detained or prevented from free movement except under a court order necessitated by investigations.
Any person arrested or detained must be informed of the reasons in writing within 12 hours, be presented to the investigating authority within 24 hours from the time of arrest, be interrogated only in the presence of a lawyer, and be provided with a lawyer when needed.
The person arrested or detained, and others, have the right of appeal to the courts against the measure of arrest. If a decision is not provided within a week, release becomes imperative.
The law regulates the rules for temporary detention, its duration and its causes, and cases of entitlement to compensation, whether for temporary detention or for a sentence carried out that a court final ruling has revoked.
Any person arrested, detained or whose freedom is restricted in any way, shall be treated in a manner preserving human dignity. No physical or moral harm shall be inflicted upon that person.
Only places that are humanely and hygienically fit, and subject to judicial supervision, may be used for detention.
The violation of any of the above is an offense punishable by law.
Any statement proved to have been made by a person under any of the aforementioned forms of duress or coercion or under the threat thereof, shall be considered invalid and futile.
Prison is a place of discipline and reform, subject to judicial supervision, where anything that is contrary to human dignity or a person’s health is prohibited.
The State is responsible for the rehabilitation of convicts and facilitating a decent life for them after their release.
The private life of citizens is inviolable. Postal correspondence, wires, electronic correspondence, telephone calls and other means of communication shall have their own sanctity and secrecy and may not be confiscated or monitored except by a causal judicial warrant.
Private homes are inviolable. With the exception of cases of immediate danger and distress, they may not be entered, searched or monitored, except in cases defined by law, and by a causal judicial warrant which specifies place, timing and purpose. Those in a home shall be alerted before the home is entered or searched.
All residents have a right to security which is safeguarded by the State, and are protected by law against criminal threats.
The sanctity of the human body is inviolable, and the trafficking of human organs prohibited. No person may be subjected to any medical or scientific experiment without free, documented consent, and in accordance with the established foundations of medical science, in the manner regulated by law.
Freedom of movement, residence and immigration shall be safeguarded.
No citizen may be deported from or prevented from returning to the country.
No citizen shall be prevented from leaving the country, nor placed under house arrest, except by a causal judicial warrant, and for a definite period.
Chapter Two: Moral and political rights
Freedom of belief is an inviolable right.
The State shall guarantee the freedom to practice religious rites and to establish places of worship for the divine religions, as regulated by law.
Insult or abuse of all religious messengers and prophets shall be prohibited.
Freedom of thought and opinion shall be guaranteed.
Every individual has the right to express an opinion and to disseminate it verbally, in writing or illustration, or by any other means of publication and expression.
Freedom of creativity in its various forms is the right of every citizen.
The State shall advance science, literature and the arts, care for creators and inventors, protect their creations and innovations, and work to apply them for the benefit of society.
The State shall take the necessary measures to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage and promote cultural services.
Access to information, data, documents and statistics, and the disclosure and circulation thereof, is a right guaranteed by the state, in a manner that does not violate the sanctity of private life or the rights of others, and that does not conflict with national security.
The law regulates the rules for filing and archiving public documents, the means of access to information, the means of complaint when access is refused, and the consequent accountability.
Freedom of the press, printing, publication and mass media shall be guaranteed. The media shall be free and independent to serve the community and to express the different trends in public opinion, and contribute to shaping and directing in accordance with the basic principles of the State and society, and to maintain rights, freedoms and public duties, respecting the sanctity of the private lives of citizens and the requirements of national security. The closure or confiscation of media outlets is prohibited except with a court order.
Control over the media is prohibited, with the exception of specific censorship that may be imposed in times of war or public mobilization.
Freedom to publish and own newspapers of all kinds is a guaranteed subject of notification for every natural or juridical Egyptian person.
The establishing of radio stations, television broadcasting and digital media is regulated by law.
Citizens have the right to organize public meetings, processions and peaceful demonstrations, unarmed and based on the notification regulated by law.
The right to private assembly is guaranteed without the need for prior notice. Security personnel shall not attend or intercept such private meetings.
Citizens have the right to establish associations and civil institutions, subject to notification only. Such institutions shall operate freely, and be deemed legal persons.
Authorities may not disband them or their administrative bodies without a court order, in the manner prescribed by the law.
The freedom to form syndicates, unions and cooperatives is a right guaranteed by law. They shall be deemed legal persons, be formed on a democratic basis, operate freely, participate in the service of community service, raising the standard of productivity among their members, and safeguarding their assets.
Authorities may not disband them or their boards except under a court order.
Professional syndicates are regulated by law and managed on a democratic basis, the accountability of their members subject to professional codes of ethics. One trade union is allowed per profession.
Authorities may not disband the boards of professional syndicates except with a court order, and may not place them under sequestration.
Every individual has the right to address public authorities in writing and under his own signature.
Addressing public authorities should not be in the name of groups, with the exception of juridical persons.
Citizen participation in public life and a national duty: Every citizen shall have the right to vote, run for elections, and express opinions in referendums, according to the provisions of the law.
The State is responsible for the inclusion of the name of every citizen who is qualified to vote in the voters’ database without waiting for an application.
The State shall ensure the fairness, validity, impartiality and integrity of referendums and elections. Interference in anything of the above is a crime punishable by law.
The State shall safeguard the interests of Egyptians living abroad, protect them and protect their rights and freedoms, help them perform their public duties toward the Egyptian State and society, and encourage their contribution to the development of the nation.
Their participation in elections and referendums is regulated by law.
The right to political asylum shall be granted by the State to every foreigner deprived in their country of public rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
Extradition of political refugees is prohibited.
All of the above shall be subject to law regulations.
Chapter Three: Economic and social rights
High-quality education is a right guaranteed by the State for every citizen. It is free throughout its stages in all government institutions, obligatory in the primary stage, and the State shall work to extend obligation to other stages.
The State supports and encourages technical education, and oversees education in all its forms.
All educational institutions, public and private, local and otherwise shall abide by the State educational plans and goals, and realize the link between education and the needs of society and production.
The State shall guarantee the freedom of scientific and literary research. The autonomy of universities, scientific and linguistic academies, and research centers shall be safeguarded; the State shall provide them with a sufficient percentage of the national revenue.
The Arabic language is a primary subject in all stages of education in all educational institutions.
Religious education and national history are core subjects of pre-university education in all its forms.
Universities shall be committed to the teaching of ethics pertaining to the various disciplines.
The State shall develop a comprehensive plan to eradicate illiteracy across ages, for males and females, to be executed with social participation within 10 years from the date of the constitution.
Healthcare is a right of every citizen, and the State shall allocate a sufficient percentage of the national revenue.
The State shall provide healthcare services and health insurance in accordance with just and high standards, to be free of charge for those who are unable to pay.
All health facilities shall provide various forms of medical treatment to every citizen in cases of emergency or life danger.
The State shall supervise all health facilities, inspect them for quality of services, and monitor all materials, products and means of health-related publicity. Legislation to regulate such supervision shall be drafted.
Work is a right, duty and honor for every citizen, guaranteed by the State on the basis of the principles of equality, justice and equal opportunities.
There shall be no forced labor except in accordance with law.
Public sector employees shall work in the service of the people. The State shall employ citizens on the basis of merit, without nepotism or mediation. Any violation is a crime punishable by law.
The State guarantees for every worker the right to fair pay, vacation, retirement and social security, healthcare, protection against occupational hazards, and the application of occupational safety conditions in the workplace, as prescribed by law.
Workers may not be dismissed except in the cases prescribed by law.
The right to peaceful strike is regulated by law.
With regards to the martyrs and the injured of wars, of the 25 January revolution, and of national duty, the State shall honor them and support their families, as well as war veterans and the injured, the families of those missing at war, and similar cases.
They, their children and their wives shall have priority in employment opportunities.
All of the above shall be regulated by law.
The State shall provide social insurance services.
All citizens unable to support themselves and their families in cases of incapacity, unemployment and old age have the right to social insurance guaranteeing a minimum sustenance.
The State shall provide an adequate pension for small-scale farmers, agricultural workers, casual workers, and all who do not have access to the social insurance system.
All are subject to law regulations.
Adequate housing, clean water and healthy food are given rights.
The state adopts a national housing plan, its basis in social justice, the promotion of independent initiatives and housing cooperatives, and the regulation of the use of national territory for the purposes of construction, in accordance with public interest and with the rights of future generations.
Everyone has the right to play sports.
State and social institutions shall strive to discover talented athletes and support them, and take the necessary measures to encourage exercise.
All individuals have the right to a healthy environment. The State shall safeguard the environment against pollution, and promote the use of natural resources in a manner that prevents damage to the environment and preserves the rights of future generations.
Every child, from the moment of birth, has the right to a proper name, family care, basic nutrition, shelter, health services, and religious, emotional and cognitive development.
The State shall care and protect the child in the case of the loss of family. The State also safeguards the rights of disabled children, and their rehabilitation and integration into society.
Child labor is prohibited before passing the age of compulsory education, in jobs that are not fit for a child’s age, or that prevent the child from continuing education.
A child may only be detained for a specified period, must be provided with legal assistance, and be held in a convenient location, taking into account separation according to gender, ages and type of crime, and be held away from places of adult detention.
The State shall provide care for children and youth; shall support their development spiritually, morally, culturally, educationally, physically, psychologically, socially and economically; and shall empower them for active political participation.
The State shall provide for people with disabilities health, economic and social care, and shall provide them with employment opportunities, raise social awareness toward them, and adapt public facilities to suit their needs.
All forms of oppression, forced exploitation of humans and sex trade are prohibited and criminalized by law.
Chapter Four: Guarantees for the protection of rights and freedoms
Sovereignty of the law shall be the basis of rule in the State.
The independence and immunity of the judiciary are two basic guarantees to safeguard rights and freedoms.
The right to litigation is inalienable and guaranteed for all.
The State shall guarantee accessibility of judicature for litigants, and rapid decision on cases.
Any stipulation of immunity of any act or administrative decision from the control of the judicature is prohibited.
No person shall be tried except before their natural judge; exceptional courts are prohibited.
Penalty shall be personalized. There shall be no crime or penalty except in accordance with the law of the Constitution. No penalty shall be inflicted except by a judicial sentence. Penalty shall be inflicted only for acts committed after a law has come into force.
No criminal action shall be made except under an order from a judiciary body, save for cases defined by law.
A defendant is innocent until proven guilty in legal trial, and granted the right of defense. Every person accused of a felony shall be provided with a defense lawyer. Minor offenses, in which a defense lawyer is also required, are determined by law.
The law regulates the rules of appeal for felonies and offenses.
The state shall provide protection for victims of crime, witnesses, defendants and informants where necessary.
The right of defense in person or by proxy is guaranteed.
The law secures, for financially incapable citizens, means to resort to justice and to defend their rights.
Sentences shall be issued and enforced in the name of the people. Abstention from or obstruction of enforcing such sentences on the part of the concerned civil servants is considered a crime punishable by law. In such case, a person issued a sentence in his favor shall have the right to lodge a direct criminal action before the competent court.
Any encroachment on any of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution shall be considered a crime for which criminal and civil lawsuit shall not be forfeited by prescription. The State shall grant a fair compensation to the victim of such encroachment.
The injured party shall have the right to lodge a direct criminal action.
The National Council for Human Rights shall inform the Public Prosecution of any violation of these rights, may join the injured party in a civil action, and may appeal on their behalf.
Rights and freedoms pertaining to the individual citizen shall not be subject to disruption or detraction.
No law that regulates the practice of the rights and freedoms shall include what would constrain their essence.
Such rights and freedoms shall be practiced in a manner not conflicting with the principles pertaining to State and society included in Part I of this Constitution.
PART III: PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
Chapter One: Legislative authority
Section 1: Common provisions
The legislative power shall consist of the House of Representatives and the Shura Council.
Each shall exercise their respective authorities as set out in the Constitution.
Membership of the House of Representatives and the Shura Council may not be combined.
Other cases of incompatibility may be specified by law.
Save in exceptional cases defined by law, members of either the House of Representatives or the Shura Council are to be fully devoted to their offices, with any other job or post kept open for their return, in accordance with the provisions of the law.
A Member of a Legislative House is unconditionally representative of the population as a whole.
Prior to the start of his or her tenure, a Member shall take the following oath before his or her Council: “I swear by Almighty God to loyally uphold the republican system, to respect the Constitution and the law, to fully look after the interests of the people, and to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of the motherland.”
The Court of Cassation shall have final jurisdiction over the validity of memberships in both Houses. Challenges shall be submitted to the court within a period not exceeding 30 days from the announcement of the final election results, and a verdict shall be passed within 60 days from the date of receipt of the challenge.
Where a membership is deemed invalid, it becomes void from the date the verdict is reported to Parliament.
Throughout his or her tenure, no Member of a Legislative House may, in person of through an intermediary, purchase or rent any State property, lease or sell to or barter with the State any part of their own property, or conclude a contract with the State as vendor, supplier or contractor.
Members shall provide financial disclosures and present them to their Council, at the start and at the end of their tenure, as well as at the end of each year.
If, in relation to their membership in a Legislative House, Members should receive cash or in-kind gifts, such gifts shall go into the Public Treasury.
All of the above is subject to regulation by law.
Members of the Legislative Houses shall not be held to account for any opinions pertaining to their tasks in Parliament.
It is prohibited, except in cases of flagrante delicto, to take criminal action against Members of the Legislative Houses without prior permission from their Council. If not in session, permission must be granted by the Council Office, and the House of Representatives or Shura Council notified at the first subsequent session of any measures taken.
In all cases, if a request for permission to take legal action against a Member of Parliament does not receive a response within 30 days, the permission is to be considered granted.
Members shall receive a remuneration determined by the law.
The seats of both the House of Representatives and the Shura Council are in Cairo.
However, in exceptional circumstances, either of them may hold meetings elsewhere, at the request of the President of the Republic or one-third of the members of the House or Council.
Any meetings otherwise shall be deemed illegitimate and the resolutions passed therein shall be considered void.
The sessions of the House of Representatives and the Shura Council shall be held in public.
However, closed sessions may be held at the request of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, or at least 20 of its members. The House of Representatives or Shura Council shall then decide whether the debate on the question submitted thereto shall take place in public or closed sessions.
The President of the Republic shall convoke the House of Representatives and the Shura Council for their ordinary annual sessions before the first Thursday of October. If not convoked, the Councils are prescribed by the Constitution to meet on the said day.
The ordinary meeting session shall continue for at least eight months. The President of the Republic shall bring each session to a close with the approval of the Councils, and in the case of the House of Representatives, only after the general budget of the State has been adopted.
When necessary, the House of Representatives or the Shura Council may be called to an extraordinary meeting, by the President of the Republic, by the Cabinet, or upon a request signed by at least 10 Shura Council or House of Representatives members.
The meetings of the House of Representatives or Shura Council, and the resolutions they pass, shall not be considered valid unless attended by the majority of its members.
In cases other than those stipulating a special majority, resolutions shall be adopted based on an absolute majority of the members present. In case of a tie vote, the matter in deliberation shall be deemed rejected.
Each Council shall elect, in the first meeting of its regular annual session, a speaker and two deputy speakers for the full legislative term in the case of the House of Representatives, and for half of the legislative term in the case of the Shura Council. If the seat of either becomes vacant, the Shura Council or House of Representatives shall elect a replacement, whose term will last until the end of its predecessor’s.
In all cases, one-third of the members of either House could request a new election of the Speaker or Deputy Speakers in the first meeting of the regular annual session.
If the presidency is temporarily assumed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or of the Shura Council, said Council shall be chaired by the older of the two Deputy Speakers.
Each Council shall lay down its own bylaws regulating its work and the manner of practicing its functions, to be published in the Official Gazette.
Each Council shall maintain its internal order, a responsibility assumed by each Council’s Speaker.
No armed forces may be present within or in vicinity of either of the Legislative Houses except at the request of the Council’s Speaker.
The President of the Republic, the Cabinet, and every member of the House of Representatives shall have the right to propose laws.
Every draft law shall be referred to a specialist committee of the House of Representatives, which shall study it and submit a report.
Draft laws presented by members of the House of Representatives shall not be referred to that committee before being first endorsed by the Proposals Committee and approved for consideration by the House of Representatives. Reasons for rejection must be presented if the Proposals Committee does not endorse a proposal for consideration.
A draft law proposed by a member but rejected by the House of Representatives may not be presented again during the same legislative term.
Neither of the Legislative Houses may pass a bill without seeking consultation.
Each Council has the right to apply amendments and break down existing clauses or suggested amendments.
Each bill passed by one of the Councils shall be passed on to the other, which in turn shall not delay it for more than 60 days, excluding the legislative recess. It shall not be considered a law unless passed by both Councils.
In case of legislative dispute between the two Councils, a joint committee of 20 members shall be formed, 10 selected by each Council from among its members and based on the nominations of its General Committee. The joint committee shall then propose the wording of the disputed clauses.
The proposals are then presented to each Council; if an agreement is not reached, the case is taken to the House of Representatives to reach a decision based on a two-thirds majority vote.
The House of Representatives shall notify the President of the Republic of any law passed for the President to issue the new law within 15 days from the date of receiving it. In case the President objects to the draft law, it must be referred back to the House of Representatives within 30 days.
If the draft law is not referred back within this period, or if it is approved again by a majority of two-thirds of the members, it shall be considered a law and shall be disseminated as such.
If it is not approved by the House of Representatives, it may not be presented in the same session before four months have passed from the date of the decision.
Every member of the House of Representatives or Shura Council is entitled to address questions to the Prime Minister or any of his deputies or ministers concerning matters within their respective jurisdiction. They in turn shall be obliged to answer such questions.
The Member may withdraw the question at any time, and the same question may not be transformed into an interrogation within the same session.
Any Member of either Council may propose to the Prime Minister, one of his deputies or a minister the discussion of a public issue.
Any 20 members of the House of Representatives, or 10 of the Shura Council, may request the discussion of a public issue to obtain clarification on the government’s policy in its regard.
Any Member of the House of Representatives or the Shura Council has the right to obtain data or information pertaining to their own performance at the Council, taking into account the provisions of Article 47 of the Constitution.
Citizens may submit written proposals to either Council regarding public issues.
Citizens may also submit complaints to either Council to be referred to the relevant ministers. Based on the Council’s request, the minister may provide a clarification, and the citizen who issued the complaint shall be kept informed.
The Prime Minister, his deputies, ministers and their deputies may attend the sessions and committees of the Councils. Their attendance may be obligatory if requested by either Council. They may be assisted by high-ranking officials of their choice.
They shall be heard whenever they request to speak; they shall answer questions pertaining to issues in discussion, but shall have no counted vote when votes are taken.
Each Council accepts the resignation of its members, which must be submitted in writing, and to be accepted must not be submitted after a Council has started measure of revoking membership against the resigning Member.
Membership of either Council may only be revoked if a Member has lost trust, status or any of the membership requirements that were prerequisites for their election, or if they have violated the duties of the membership.
Decision on revoking membership shall be issued by a majority of two-thirds of the Council in question.
If the seat of a member becomes vacant at least six months before the end of term, the vacant position must be filled in accordance with the law within 60 days from the date the vacancy is first reported.
The term of the new Member shall be complementary to that of the predecessor.
Section 2: House of Representatives
The House of Representatives shall have at least 350 members, elected by direct, secret public balloting.
A candidate for parliamentary elections must be an Egyptian citizen, enjoying civil and political rights, holder of a certificate of basic education, and 25 years old or older at the time of candidacy.
With Halloween arriving, we have dug up the would-be ghosts of documented evil and bloodshed from the past.
When Hallows Eve was first introduced as a Celtic festival some 2,000 years ago, bonfires and costumes were seen as a legitimate way to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. Today of course, with science and logic being real ghostbusters, spine-chilling tales of haunted forests, abandoned asylums and deserted graveyards have rather become a way to add some mystery and suspense to our lives.
And yet there are still spooky places around the world that have something more than legend attached to them. From Spain to Uzbekistan and Australia, these locations prove that haunting lore is sometimes rooted in very real, and often terrible events.
Shahr-e Gholghola, City of Screams - Afghanistan
The ruins of Shahr-e Gholghola, the City of Screams, in Afghanistan
According to locals, ghosts from this ancient royal citadel located in the Valley of Bamyan, 150 miles northwest of Kabul, have been screaming for 800 years. You can hear them from miles away, at twilight, when they relive their massacre.
In the spring 1221, the fortress built by Buddhist Ghorids in the 6th century became the theater of the final battle between Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, last ruler of the Khwarezmian Empire, and the Mongol Horde led by Genghis Khan. It is said that Khan's beloved grandson, Mutakhan, had been killed on his mission to sack Bamyan. To avenge him, the Mongol leader went himself and ordered to kill every living creature in the city, children included.
The ruins today bear the name of Shahr-e Gholghola, meaning City of Screams or City of Sorrows. The archeological site, rich in Afghan history, is open to the public and though its remaining walls stay quiet during the day, locals say that the night brings the echoes of fear and agony. Others claim the place comes back to life eight centuries ago, and one can hear the bustle of the city and people calling each other.
Gettysburg, Civil War battlefield - U.S.
View of the battlefields from Little Round Top, Gettysburg, PA, USA
Even ghosts non-believers agree there is something eerie about Gettysbury. The city in the state of Pennsylvania is now one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. for spirits and paranormal activities sight-seeing; and many visitors report they witness exactly what they came for: sounds of drums and gunshots, spooky encounters and camera malfunctions in one specific spot… just to name a few!
The Battle of Gettysburg, for which President Abraham Lincoln wrote his best known public address, is considered a turning point in the Civil War that led to the Union's victory. It lasted three days, from July 1st to July 3rd, 1863, but it accounts for the worst casualties of the entire conflict, with 23,000 on the Union side (3,100 men killed) and 28,000 for the Confederates (including 3,900 deaths). Thousands of soldiers were buried on the battlefield in mass graves - without proper rites, legend says - before being relocated to the National Military Park Cemetery for the Unionists.
Since then, legend has it, their restless souls wander, unaware the war has ended. You can find them everywhere, on the battlefield or in the town's preserved Inns and hotels turned into field hospitals back then.
Belchite, Civil War massacre - Spain
Old Belchite, Spain
Shy lost souls wandering and briefly appearing in front of visitors, unexplainable forces attracting some to specific places of the town, recorded noises of planes, gunshots and bombs, like forever echoes of a drama which left an open wound in Spanish history…
That wound, still unhealed, is the Spanish Civil War; and at its height in 1937, Belchite village, located in the Zaragoza Province in the northeast of Spain, represented a strategic objective of the Republican forces to take over the nearby capital city of Zaragoza.
Instead of being a simple step in their operation, it became the field of an intense battle opposing the loyalist army and that of General Francisco Franco's. Between August 24 and September 6, more than 5,000 people were killed, including half of Belchite's population. The town was left in rubble. As a way to illustrate the Republicans' violence, Franco decided to leave the old town in ruins and build a new Belchite nearby. All the survivors were relocated there, but they had to wait 15 years for it to be complete.
If nothing particular happens in new Belchite, home to around 1,500 residents, the remains of old Belchite offer their share of chilling ghost stories. Some visitors say they felt a presence, someone watching them, sudden change of temperatures and strange sounds. The ruins of the old village have been used as a film set for Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - with the crew reporting the apparition of two women dressed in period costumes - and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. And in October 1986, members of the television program "Cuarta Dimensión" (the 4th dimension) spent a night in Belchite and came back with some spooky recordings of war sounds.
Gur Emir, a conquerer’s mausoleum - Uzbekistan
Gur Emir (Tomb of Timur) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
The news echoed through the streets and bazaars of Samarkand: "The Russian expedition will open the tomb of Tamerlane the Great. It will be our curse!" It was June 1941, and a small team of Soviet researchers began excavations in the Gur-Emir mausoleum in southeastern Uzbekistan.
The aim was to prove that the remains in the tomb did in fact belong to Tamerlane — the infamous 14th-century conqueror and first ruler of the Timurid dynasty who some historians say massacred 1% of the world's population in 1360.
Still, on June 20, despite protests from local residents and Muslim clergy, Tamerlame's tomb was cracked open — marked with the inscription: "When I Rise From the Dead, The World Shall Tremble."
Only two days later, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, with the people of Samarkand linking it to the disturbing of Tamerlane's peace. Amid local protests, the excavation was immediately wrapped up and the remains of the Turkish/Mongol conqueror were sent to Moscow. The turning point in the war came with the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad — only a month after a superstitious Stalin ordered the return of Tamerlane's remains to Samarkand where the former emperor was re-buried with full honors.
Gamla Stan, a royal massacre - Sweden
The red house of Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden
After Danish King Kristian II successfully invaded Sweden and was anointed King in November 1520, the new ruler called Swedish leaders to join for festivities at the royal palace in Stockholm. At dusk, after three days of wine, beer and spectacles, Danish soldiers carrying lanterns and torches entered the great hall and imprisoned the gathered nobles who were considered potential opponents of the Danish king. In the days that followed, 92 people were swiftly sentenced to death, and either hanged or beheaded on Stortorget, the main square in Gamla Stan (Old Town).
Until this day, the Stockholm Bloodbath is considered one of the most brutal events in Scandinavian history, and some people have reported visions of blood flowing across the cobblestoned square in early November. A little over a century later, a red house on the square was rebuilt as a monument for the executed — fitted with 92 white stones for each slain man. Legend has it that should one of the stones be removed, the ghost of the represented will rise from the dead and haunt the streets of Stockholm for all eternity.
Port Arthur, gruesome prison - Australia
Port Arthur Prison Settlement, Tasmania, Australia
During its 47-year history as a penal settlement, Port Arthur in southern Tasmania earned a reputation as one of the most notorious prisons in the British Empire. The institution — known for a brutal slavery system and punishment of the most hardened criminals sent from the motherland— claimed the lives of more than 1,000 inmates until its closure in 1877.
Since then, documented stories have spanned the paranormal gamut: poltergeist prisoners terrorizing visitors, weeping children roaming the port and tourists running into a weeping 'lady in blue' (apparently the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth). The museum even has an 'incidence form' ready for anyone wanting to report an otherworldly event.
Poveglia Island, plague victims - Italy
Poveglia Island, Italy
Located off the coast of Venice and Lido, Poveglia sadly reunites all the classical elements of a horror movie: plagues, mass burial ground and mental institute (from the 1920's).
During the bubonic plague and other subsequent pandemics, the island served as a quarantine station for the sick and anyone showing any signs of what could be Black Death contamination. Some 160,000 victims are thought to have died there and the seven acres of land became a mass burial ground so full that it is said that human ash makes up more than 50% of Poveglia's soil.
In 1922 a retirement home for the elderly — used as a clandestine mental institution— opened on the island and with it a fair amount of rumors involving torture of patients. The hospital and consequently the whole island was closed in 1968, leaving all the dead trapped off-land.
Poveglia's terrifying past earned it the nickname of 'Island of Ghosts'. Despite being strictly off-limits to visitors, the site has been attracting paranormal activity hunters looking for the apparition of lost and angry souls. The island would be so evil that some locals say that when an evil person dies, he wakes up in Poveglia, another kind of hell.
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