In mid-July, the military, called the Supreme Council of the Armed
Forces, announced plans to adopt what it termed a "declaration of basic
principles" that would guide any new constitution. Later, Egyptian sources
said the principles would define the military's dominant role in society,
particularly in fostering unity and secularism.
Several of the 50 judges recruited to draft the principles said the
military intends to implement the document without any election or
referendum. The judges said the model appeared to be that of Turkey, long
dominated by the military.
Ms. Gebali said the jurists have been divided over proposals to grant
the military dominance over Egypt's political system. She said most of those
who want to grant the military such a role fear a takeover by the Muslim
Over the last 60 years, Egypt's military has escaped civilian scrutiny.
Parliament was never allowed to examine the military's budget or question
operations. At the same time, the military developed a huge economic
infrastructure that included a weapons industry, tourism, automobiles and
Egyptians have become increasingly critical of the military since its
ouster of Mubarak in February. Over the last three months, the new
military regime has been cracking
down on dissent and turning a blind eye to attacks on Egypt's Christian
Officials said the military would soon receive the draft principles,
which could either be amended, adopted or presented for a referendum. They
the next Egyptian parliament, expected to be elected in November, would
then work to draft a constitution.
"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces does not want to stay in
power," military spokesman Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Shahin said.