“In the United States, Americans feel protected by their Constitution. In Egypt, the opposite can be true.”

February 9th, 2011

Apparently CNN thinks that in Egypt, the Constitution feels protected by Egyptians, or something like that (In Soviet Russia, Constitution is protected by you!) Other than this headline fail, it is an interesting article.

The Arab nation’s constitution, recently amended in 2005 and 2007, was designed to preserve power for the ruling National Democratic Party and make it virtually impossible for anyone outside the ruling establishment to seek the highest office in the land.

More than two weeks into the uprising, the debate centers on whether to dump Egypt’s governmental road map altogether or decide how it can be amended to pave the way for a more democratic era.

Rutherford said the parliament will have to be dissolved — representation in both the upper and lower chambers lost legitimacy after what was widely seen as rigged elections in 2010 — and the constitution will have to be overhauled.

The irony is that only one man can make those things happen under the current constitution: Mubarak himself.

But a way out for Mubarak’s foes may surface in Article 139, discussed over the weekend in talks between Vice President Omar Suleiman and representatives of some opposition groups.

Article 139 reads: “The President of the Republic may appoint one or more Vice-Presidents, define their jurisdiction and relieve them of their posts. The rules relating to the calling to account of the President of the Republic shall be applicable to the Vice-Presidents.”

“That’s where the wiggle room lies,” Rutherford said.

Mubarak could keep the title of president, but deputize Suleiman to manage Egypt’s transitional period. That would avoid the need for immediate elections and Mubarak would retain the power to authorize big changes.