Strasbourg, 28.06.2012 – Whilst welcoming the election of the first civilian President in Egypt as a “historical step in the country’s transition to democracy”, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) today expressed its deep concern about recent developments which constitute “real obstacles to a slowly emerging democracy” in Egypt.
These obstacles include the dissolution of parliament, the constitutional changes enacted by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (granting legislative power to the army and stripping the President of powers in the field of the budget and foreign and defence policy) and the questionable independence and impartiality of the Constitutional Court.
The text adopted, based on the proposals of Jean-Charles Gardetto (Monaco, EPP/CD), also points out that the fundamental challenges lying ahead include the eventual design of the balance of powers, how the army will share power with the President, and the role of women and of religious minorities.
The Assembly underlines that the newly elected President should now reassure those Egyptians who are longing for security and stability but who are, at the same time, deeply polarised, and initiate the badly needed reforms to build a civil administration free from the corrupt practices of the past and boost the economy.
The Assembly stressed that the question of the new Constitution is emblematic, and that “all these crucial issues must be tackled in this text”. In this connection, the Assembly highlighted the important beneficial role which the Council of Europe could play through its Venice Commission, which has unique experience in constitutional drafting.
The adopted text concludes by saying that the Assembly is ready “to share its experience in the field of democratic transition with the Egyptian institutions, in order to facilitate the difficult political transition in what is the largest country in the Middle East”.