Prime Minister Hesham Qandil announced on Monday that the Egyptian government has commissioned a number of constitutional experts with “no political affiliations” to draft amendments for 10-15 articles of the constitution, according to state-run news agency MENA.
The constitution was passed by popular referendum in December, amid protest from opposition parties who demanded more time to reach consensus on several of its articles and who reported a number of voting violations during the elections.
All proposed amendments will be presented to President Mohamed Morsi as soon as they are drafted, Qandil told a group of Egyptian expatriates in Kenya. But he stressed that he could not guarantee that the proposed amendments would be approved by an elected parliament.
“We are hopeful that the parliamentary elections will take place as soon as possible,” Qandil said. Morsi predicted in March that the elections would take place in October.
Anyone who demands a change of government before these elections must know that the current government does not have the power to forge elections, Qandil said. These will be held under the full supervision of the judiciary and an independent higher electoral committee. This is a fraud-proof system, he added.
Khaled El-Masry, media director for 6 April Youth Movement, was not impressed by Qandil’s promises.
“We think this statement was just for media attention,” El-Masry said. “Qandil doesn’t have the power to amend the constitution; only the Shura Council can do that. And we have been asking them to amend the constitution for months. ”
Hazzem Helal, a senior member of the Free Egyptians Party was also wary of Qandil’s announcement. “I only hope that this is for the benefit of the country and not the social media,” he said.
In his speech, Qandil also affirmed that the government will continue trying to change several political, economic, social and security issues, despite the “noise and ongoing demonstrations” surrounding them.
“We are working toward economic reforms and obtaining a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which will be a positive addition to the Egyptian economy,” Qandil said. “All reforms are being worked out through due legal process with the help of serious investors.”
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel for Egypt, despite the difficult times we are going through at the moment,” Qandil said.