The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [NYT backgrounder] on Wednesday unveiled an interim constitution that allows the council to retain control over the country until an elected government is installed. The document vests the military council with presidential powers [Al-Ahram report], including the abilities to introduce legislation, veto existing laws and act as Egypt's representative to the international community. Among the constitution's 62 articles, nine of which were popularly approved [JURIST report] earlier this month, are provisions mandating presidential term limits, vice presidential appointments, judicial oversight of elections and the formulation of a 100-member committee to be charged with drafting a permanent replacement constitution [AP report] that will then be submitted for approval via referendum. Several aspects from the preceding constitution, which was suspended [JURIST report] in February, are continued in the interim version, namely the retention of Islamic Sharia law [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and of Islam as the national religion.
The military council announced earlier this week that it will lift the state of emergency [JURIST report] prior to the September parliamentary elections, and that requirements for the registration of political parties have been lessened. The constitutional referendum held earlier this month is considered by some to be a milestone [JURIST comment] for Egypt during its transition to a democratic society following the national uprising [JURIST news archive] against former president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile]. Both the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood supported the amendments to the Egyptian Constitution [text], which included mandating new criteria for potential presidential candidates.