Constitutional amendments looking bleak

I am very much working on this issue but don't have time to comment, so read Reuters' take on the constitutional amendments:

Amendments to the Egyptian constitution, as drafted by a parliamentary committee, would weaken the role of judges in monitoring elections and make it almost impossible for Islamists to seek the presidency.

The draft amendments would deprive non-party independents of the right to stand for the presidency and ban all political activity based on any religious reference or basis weapons the authorities could use against the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group in the country.

The amendments give responsibility for monitoring elections to a committee on which judges may not necessarily be in the majority.

Opposition and civil society groups have prized the existing requirement that judges supervise elections as one of the best ways to discourage the abuses which have marred voting in Egypt.

In the 2005 elections several judges risked their careers by speaking out against electoral practices that they witnessed. The parliamentary committee is expected to approve the amendments this week.
There is even worse stuff, but more on it when the amendments are in their final form. In the meantime, Muslim Brothers have launched a "We refuse the constitutional amendments" campaign across campuses.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.