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EGYPT: Legal experts offer proposed changes to constitution, including term limits

February 26, 2011 | 11:42 am

Egypt Legal experts in Egypt presented proposed changes to the country's constitution on Saturday, including provisions for elections and limits on the length of presidential terms.

The changes were requested by the military council that has been governing the country since President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. The public will be allowed to debate the proposed amendments, and then will vote on them through a referendum, which will be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections, according to Reuters.

Mubarak was serving his fifth term when he was ousted this month. The new provisions will limit presidents to two terms. The draft also proposes that terms be limited to four years each, rather than six years as before.

A handful of candidates will be allowed to run in September's presidential elections, including one from Mubarak's National Democratic Party, if the changes are approved. Candidates must have either the support of 30 members of parliament or the backing of 30,000 voters, according to the proposed rules. They also could be nominated by a registered political party that has at least one elected parliament member.

Judicial supervision of elections, which was ended in 2007, would also be restored.

Political leaders largely supported the proposed changes on Saturday. Mohamed El-Katani, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, told Reuters:

It's a good amendment so there can be a real transfer of power because open-ended terms led to despotism. When the president knows that the period is a maximum of eight years, his despotism will be reduced or completely eliminated.

A small group of protesters reportedly returned to the streets of Cairo on Friday, putting pressure on the military government to enact changes.

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: Protesters in Egypt had demanded government reform. Credit: Takver via Flickr