Egypt's New Constitution: Laying the Basis for an Islamist, Sharia State
-- Two provisions (Article 231 and 232) are explicitly designed to reverse the Supreme Constitutional Court’s ruling that parliament was elected on the basis of an unconstitutional elections law. Thus, approval of the constitution at the referendum would lead to Mursi arguing that a parliament with two-thirds Islamist membership would be legitimate, rather than facing new elections in which the Islamists might lose seats.
Probably the provision most bruited in the Western media will be the taking out of a provision that explicitly said women’s equality would be subject to revision based on Sharia (removed from Article 68). Another article (Article 30) states that citizens are equal before the law and equal in rights and obligations without discrimination.
Presumably, however, this changes nothing since conformity with Sharia law is already mandated in the Constitution. But that last point is a good symbol of the constitution’s meaning. It enshrines Sharia rule without rubbing people’s faces in it. Thus, the Western media and governments can cheer the constitution as democratic and proof that Islamists are now moderate even though that document opens the door for dictatorial rule.