Monday, December 10, 2012

Egyptian opposition will not recognize the outcome of the referendum about the Constitution

 presidential palace
 Tanks at the presidential palace. A sit-in continues in spite of the earlier clashes, the barbed wire and the military. The death toll of the clashes of last Wednesday in the meantime climbed to eight after another wounded protester died in hospital. (Al-Ahram Online). 

Egypt's main opposition coalition rejected on Sunday Islamist President Mohamed Mursi's plan for a constitutional referendum this week."We are against this process from start to finish," Hussein Abdel Ghani, spokesman of the National Salvation Front, told a news conference, calling for more street protests on Tuesday.
The Front issued a declaration which said that "The National Salvation Front has decided not to recognise the upcoming referendum and the draft constitution, which it considers farcical." It added that holding the referendum now – following Wednesday clashes outside the presidential palace in Cairo – would only further polarise Egyptian society."The draft constitution does not reflect the hopes and aspirations of the Egyptian people following the January 25 Revolution," according to the the statement. The proposed charter enforced "presidential dictatorship", it said, and neglected the "social and economic needs" of the Egyptian people. 
The Front also slammed a Sunday decision by President Mohamed Morsi to raise sales taxes on several commodities and called for a million-man protest on Tuesday in public squares across the country as a means of escalating against the draft constitution and scheduled referendum.
The Coalition of Islamic Forces, meanwhile, which includes several Egyptian Islamist parties and groups, has called for a two-million-man counter-rally on Tuesday under the banner "Yes to legitimacy."

Earlier the National Salvation Front had rejected the new Constitutional Declaration that President Morsi issued after a 'national dialogue' which was held on Saturday at the presidential palace with the aim of defusing the tension. The National Salvation Front was absent from this meeting, as it had demanded that Morsi would revoke the 22 November Declaration prior to the meeting. In the new declaration, that took the place of the one of 22 November, Morsi's no longer declared himself above the law. However the declaration itself, like earlier presidential decrees, could not be contested in court, it said. It upheld that the referendum about the Constitution will go ahead, but stipulated that a new constitutional assembly can be elected in case the Constitution will be rejected. Also it upheld the possibility of retrials of personalities belonging to the former regime or people responsible for the killing of protesters during the uprising against Mubarak.

The problem with the referendum is that in a country where many are illiterate and most haven't followed more than a few years of primary school, the majority is expected to vote for what the presidency is going to ask them, which is to accept this Constitution. That is exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties are referring to when they say that 'legitimacy' should have its way.

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