By Youssef El Beshlawy
Suggestions from the Press Syndicate, the Egyptian Trade Union Federation and the 6 April movement were submitted to the Legal Experts Committee on Sunday, the deadline for proposals to amend the 2012 constitution.
On Saturday, the Press Syndicate board discussed nine articles it would offer to the committee. Khaled Al-Belshy, member of the syndicate board and editor in chief of Al-Badil newspaper, said the articles discussed by the board included: freedom of expression, opinion, press and media is guaranteed, prohibiting the alteration or cancelation of communication and publication documents.
The press syndicate stressed the press is an “independent popular authority.” In its suggestions, it called for a national council to handle press issues, the guaranteed independence of media, a commitment to transparency, and for the right of journalists to obtain information.
6April also offered its suggestions on Sunday to the Legal Experts committee. In a Sunday statement, the movement said its proposals relied on contributions from the Write your constitution campaign.
The campaign was first founded in 2011 “in the belief in the importance of the constitution” and it relaunched the Say no campaign in opposition to the 2012 constitution and called the citizens to refuse it in the referendum.
Gebaly Al-Meraghy, head of The Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), submitted a draft with its suggestions for the constitutional amendments to come to Ali Awad Saleh, interim president advisor for constitutional issues and rapporteur of the committee.
ETUF proposed an amendment to article 27, for the workers to have a share in project administration and profits, with a proportion not lesser than 10%.
It also suggested the amendment of article 56, in order to guarantee the creation of syndicates and unions on “a democratic basis”. In its amendment suggestion, it denounced “the chaotic creation of so-called independent syndicates that are outside the scope of legitimacy.”
ETUF stated that it considers the representation of workers and farmers in parliamentary councils one of the most important gains of the 1952 revolution, the January 25 and the 30 June revolutions. It demanded that 50% of parliamentary institutions be formed of workers and farmers (as the 2012 constitution indicated).
The Legal Experts Committee held its fourth meeting on Saturday in the headquarters of the dissolved Shura Council. It continued to discuss proposals presented via e-mail, fax and phone. The committee has not disclosed these suggestions, nor the articles which would be amended. It met again on Sunday to continue its work and examine the suggestions.
“We will only unveil these articles when our work deadline expires [a month from the date of its formation by a presidential decision on 8 July 2013], since announcing them could cause disarray in the public opinion,” said Saleh.
The committee is tasked to discuss all the controversial articles in the 2012 constitution such as article 2, article 219 dealing with the Islamic Sharia, article 14 dealing with minimum wage, article 43 stipulating that ‘freedom of belief is safeguarded’ and article 198 dealing with military trials for civilians.