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(Original story by Hamza Hedawi at The Globe and Mail...)

"Egypt's ruling generals are seeking to enshrine a future role for themselves with considerable independence from civilian leaders and possibly an authority to intervene in politics...

Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Shaheen, a key member of the military council who is leading the process for drawing up the guidelines, said in comments published recently that the country's next constitution should safeguard the armed forces against the “whims” of any future president, practically asking for the armed forces to be given virtually complete independence.

One of the legal experts that the military is consulting in the process, Hisham Bastawisi, has gone further, proposing that the military in the future have the role of “guaranteeing supra-constitutional principles.” In his formulation, that would appear to mean powers to intervene to protect basic democratic rights.

But some fear that could give the generals a tool for imposing its will at a time when the country is trying to move toward democratic rule with civilians at the helm. Mr. Bastawisi, who has announced his intention to run for president, also proposed extensive independence for the military, including immunity from parliamentary scrutiny of its budgets and prohibitions on passing laws affecting the military without the generals' approval.

The military has over the years enjoyed perks and privileges that no other institution in Egypt had. It has ventured into business in recent years, winning lucrative government contracts for the construction of dams, roads and even seaside resorts. Retired generals are routinely given well paid government jobs..."


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