Egypt Gets a New Constitution
Egyptian voters just approved a new constitution in a popular referendum, so it’s safe to say at this point that the country has undergone a regime change. The military government installed by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s “Free Officers Movement” in 1952, which continued in a crippled form for a while after Hosni Mubarak was removed from power, is now finished.
The new constitution was translated into English and published on the Internet. It’s a mixed bag. Some of it is pretty good. Parts are incoherent and far too vague for a legal document. Other sections are toxic, especially Article 2 which says—and all of us knew this was coming—that “Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation.” [Emphasis added.]
The referendum passed by a roughly 2-1 margin, which is more or less the same percentage of people who voted for either the Muslim Brotherhood or the totalitarian Salafists in the last parliamentary election.
ABC News reports that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi “called on the opposition to join a dialogue to heal rifts over the charter.”
There shouldn’t be any serious rifts. Not over a new constitution. It ought to be a consensus document, something liberals and conservatives, Muslims and Christians, and the secular and the religious can all live with.