Anti-coup bloc delays decision on Egypt referendum

Egypt plans to hold a popular referendum on an amended version of the 2012 national charter, which was suspended by the military following Morsi's ouster.

Anti-coup bloc delays decision on Egypt referendum

World Bulletin / News Desk

The National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy has decided to delay an announcement on whether it would participate or not in a planned constitutional referendum, an alliance leader said.

"It is premature to announce our position as voters have not yet been invited to cast their ballot," Mohamed Ali Beshr told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

He said delaying the decision would give the alliance "a chance to communicate with political parties and youth and revolutionary groups to unify their stances against the referendum".

Egypt plans to hold a popular referendum – expected some time in January – on an amended version of the 2012 national charter, which was suspended by the military in the wake of elected president Mohamed Morsi's July 3 ouster.

Amendment of the constitution is a central pillar of a roadmap for political transition imposed by the army following the July 3 ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.

An alliance source earlier said that the coalition is likely to boycott the referendum, expected some time in January.

"The alliance is to boycott the referendum after hearing the opinion of most members," the source told AA.

According to the source, while most members of the anti-coup bloc favor boycotting the vote, the Salafist Watan party wants a "No" vote on revised charter.

Deputy leader of Watan Party Yousry Hammad said Monday that a "No" vote on the revised charter "will strip it of legitimacy".

"A boycott is useful in democratic regimes, where the will of the people is not rigged," Hammad wrote on his Facebook page.

On Monday, Strong Egypt Party called on citizens to vote against an amended version of Egypt's 2012 constitution.

"We announce our rejection of the draft constitution," party head Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh told a Monday press conference. "We will take part in the referendum and we will vote 'No'."

Egypt's military-backed interim authorities have repeatedly promised a free and transparent referendum, to be supervised by judicial officials and international and local polling observers.


An anti-coup group in Egypt on Tuesday called for a protest in downtown Cairo to show support for Al-Azhar University students after their campus was stormed on Monday by security forces.

In a statement, the Professionals Against Coup, which calls for the reinstatement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, said it would stage a rally outside the lawyers' syndicate building in downtown Cairo.

The statement, however, did not say whether the group obtained the approval of security agencies to organize the rally in line with a new law regulating street demonstrations.

"The protest aims to denounce the practices of the coup authorities, show solidarity with Al-Azhar students, and refuse the coup constitution," the statement said.

On Monday, security forces stormed Al-Azhar University campus in eastern Cairo, firing teargas at stone-throwing students holed up inside.

Health Ministry spokesman Ahmed Kamel told local media that five students were injured in the clashes, including one in a critical condition.

Since its new academic year began in October, Al-Azhar University has been at the epicenter of a series of university protests against the army's July 3 ouster of elected president Morsi.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Aralık 2013, 09:20