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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Strong Egypt Party demands referendum guarantees

Party founded by Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh lists measures it deems essential for free and fair constitution referendum

Ahram Online, Tuesday 10 Dec 2013
abou fotouh
Former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh talks during an interview with Reuters, Cairo June 26, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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The Strong Egypt Party has called on the high electoral committee to ensure the upcoming constitution referendum is free and fair.

The committee should allow political parties, and local and international civil society organisations to monitor the vote, the party said in a statement on Monday.

It should also issue the necessary monitoring permits at least two days before the referendum, and publish the observers' names to ensure transparency, the party added.

The Strong Egypt Party, founded by moderate Islamist and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, has given cautious support to the interim authorities who replaced Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July. It refused to join the 50-member committee that amended the Islamist-drafted 2012 constitution.

Earlier on Monday, the party announced it would campaign for a No vote in the referendum because the charter has the same deficiencies as 2012 version, which “failed to promote social justice and gave too much power to the president.”

Abul-Fotouh said the draft does not fulfil the goals of the January 25 Revolution and makes the military a "state above the state."

The party suggested allowing citizens to vote only at designated polling stations with a stamped card.

The vote count should be in public and announced at each polling station. The voting process should take place on one day so ballot boxes are not left unattended overnight, it added.

The number of voters at each polling station should not exceed 1500, election supervisors should be objective and transparent, and the high electoral committee's website should keep people updated with all relevant information, the party advised.

“These are the basic safeguards we insist upon,” the party said.

It also complained that the drafting committee had worked in “secrecy, without transparency and without a real public debate, which resulted in a distorted constitution.”

A 50-member committee recently completed its amendments to the 2012 constitution in early December.

The 2012 charter was suspended after Morsi’s ouster in July. A national referendum on the document is expected in January.

“If our referendum guarantees are not made, another stance will be taken, which will be announced at the time,” the party's statement concluded.

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