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2012 Egypt Constitution


2012 Egypt Constitution

Egyptian protesters opposing President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans during a demonstration at the Presidential Palace on Dec. 18, 2012, in Cairo, Egypt.

(Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
On Dec. 26, 2012, despite protests alleging that Islamists were making a power grab in post-Arab Spring Egypt, President Mohammed Morsi signed into law a new constitution. It was drafted without the participation of opposition and minority groups, and was put to a referendum just days before. It passed by 64 percent, but wide boycotts resulted in just a third of the electorate voting. Here are some notable portions of Egypt's new constitution.

Article 1

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.

Article 2

Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation.

Article 3

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.

Article 4

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.

Article 6

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.

Article 10

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.

Article 11

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.

Article 31

Dignity is the right of every human being, safeguarded by the State. Insulting or showing contempt toward any human being shall be prohibited.

Article 43

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.

Article 44

Insult or abuse of all religious messengers and prophets shall be prohibited.

Article 45

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.

Article 48

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.

Article 49

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.

Article 50

Citizens have the right to organize public meetings, processions and peaceful demonstrations, unarmed and based on the notification regulated by law.

Article 61

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.

Article 80

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.

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