Prime minister: Interim Constitution to be amended soon

The government will amend an article of the Interim Constitution that relates to the ruling military council's powers, Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri said Sunday.

In a press statement, Ganzouri said  Article 56 of the constitution will be amended. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had issued the constitution in March. 

Paragraph 10 of the article states that the military council has the "other powers and jurisdictions accorded to the president in conformance with the law and regulations."

The controversial article also grants vast powers to the SCAF regarding state policies the military council may issue laws or reject them, appoint ministers and dismiss them, and appoint MPs.

Egyptian media reports said the amendments will include delegating presidential powers to the prime minister, excluding authority over the judiciary and the armed forces.

Ganzouri said the amendments will be made before his new government is sworn in. The government is expected to be sworn in on Monday.

Egyptian satellite channels have said that the announcement of the new government had been delayed several times because Ganzouri remains undecided on who to nominate to head the Interior Ministry.

Rights activists have been calling for restructuring the Interior Ministry, which has a history of suppressing protests. This renders the choice of an interior minister particularly difficult.

Ganzouri was appointed prime minister on 25 November following the resignation of the former government led by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on 22 November.

Revolutionary groups criticized the performance of Sharaf's government, which was in power for nine months. They said it did not have sufficient powers and was merely implementing policies dictated by the ruling military council.

They have also been critical of the choice of Ganzouri himself, particularly because he led a government under former President Hosni Mubarak.

Ganzouri's appointment was seen as an attempt to end a political crisis during protests that began on 19 November calling for a swifter handover of power to civilians. Forty-three people were killed by security sources during the ensuing demonstrations.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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