Monday,23 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1158, (25 - 31 July 2013)
Monday,23 July, 2018
Issue 1158, (25 - 31 July 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Write your own constitution

An initiative to raise public awareness of the country’s new constitution has been launched by the Tamarod movement, reports Mohamed Abdel-Baky

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Tamarod movement, which led the 30 June Revolution against ousted former president Mohamed Morsi, has now launched a new initiative that aims at encouraging a wider public to participate in drafting amendments to the suspended 2012 constitution.
Following the ouster of Morsi on 3 July, the 2012 constitution, widely criticised by the country’s political forces as it was drafted by an assembly packed with an Islamist majority, was suspended by military decree.
Unlike what Morsi did when he excluded most of the nation’s stakeholders from drafting the 2012 constitution, Tamarod says it wants to be sure that the public as a whole will have its say on the amended draft.
According to the movement’s founders, an initiative named “Write your constitution” has now been launched, calling upon the public to participate effectively in the drafting process.  
“The initiative aims to reach a national consensus over the new constitutional amendments by including the voices of as many citizens as possible,” said Hassan Shahin, spokesperson of Tamarod.
Shahin added that Tamarod would act as a link between government and people during the transitional period and would aim to “give ordinary citizens a key role in the transition towards democracy”.
In the mission statement of the campaign, Tamarod said the new constitution should preserve “Egypt’s identity as a civil and democratic state that protects the freedoms of all its citizens and maintains its sovereignty over its borders”.
“We should guarantee that the demands of the  people who took to the streets against the Morsi and Mubarak regimes will be taken into consideration by the committee that is working on the amendments to the constitution,” said Tamarod’s political communications officer Mohamed Abdel-Aziz.
Interim President Adli Mansour recently issued a 33-article constitutional declaration intended to set out a roadmap for the transitional period.
Amending the suspended constitution is towards the beginning of this roadmap, and it will be followed by parliamentary and then presidential polls. The constitutional declaration also grants the interim president legislative authority, after consulting the government, until a new parliament is elected.
The Tamarod campaign, which will cover all the country’s governorates, will include street activities to encourage people to propose constitutional changes aimed at guaranteeing better living standards, freedom and social justice.
“I believe the Egyptian people are smart enough to create a better Egypt and a more prosperous life. All they need is a push and more information,” said Mohamed Heikal, the Tamarod media coordinator.
The initiative will start with workshops that aim to build capacity among Tamarod volunteers, educating them both politically and legally.
“Members of Tamarod will be taught by professional politicians,” said Heikal, who added that “the new constitution will determine the future of the country, and no one will be allowed to deceive us again.”
The second step in the campaign will be to design posters that will be given to citizens to raise awareness about the constitution and inform them of their rights. “We aim to reach every Egyptian, just as we did with the Tamarod signature sheets,” said Heikal.
“Tamarod realises that the citizens were deceived in the past. They must now be made more aware of the importance of the constitution, its effect on the country, what it does, and what each article means politically,” said Heikal.
Heikal stated that after the “Write your constitution” campaign, Tamarod was planning to launch a fresh campaign in order to train young people aged from 25 to 40 in the run-up to the next parliamentary elections.
Tamarod hopes to see a youth turnout of up to 50 per cent.
A group of legal experts, politicians and government officials will help the movement disseminate the initiative across Egypt in the coming few weeks.
Mai Wahba, the co-founder of the movement, said that current policy was to keep the momentum of the 30 June Revolution up and help young people be involved in the political process.
She added that Tamarod had tens of thousands of volunteers who had helped the movement to collect the 22 million signatures that had ousted Morsi in only two months of campaigning.
“We believe that these young people should continue to play an important role in the transitional period by helping the people to understand their rights,” she said.

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