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Strong Egypt Party to boycott the referendum

Party criticises arrest of members who were campaigning for a 'no' vote

Ahram Online, Monday 13 Jan 2014
Strong Egypt Party
Strong Egypt Party
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The Strong Egypt Party will boycott this week's constitutional referendum because of a failure by authorities to guarantee a fair and democratic process.

The party held a press conference on Monday in Cairo to announce their decision to boycott the referendum, which is set to take place on14 and 15 January. In a statement, the party cited several measures as compromising the democratic principles of the upcoming vote; the right for voters to cast their ballots outside their area of residence; the mass media propaganda campaign and the exploitation of public money and resources behind the vote "yes" campaign; and the arrest campaign targeting Strong Egypt members who were supporting the vote "no" campaign.

At least seven Strong Party Egypt members have been arrested in Cairo and elsewhere in recent weeks for possession of posters supporting the no-vote campaign. On Monday, Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning the arrests.

In the press release, the Strong Egypt Party stated that the party will always support legal mechanisms as a means to revolve political disputes, provided that the process is conducted with guarantees of the political and civil liberties of the citizens.

The party called on all Egyptians to remain peaceful at demonstrations, and not to attack public or private property, but said it is not planning any protests in the near future.

“We will not be part of any demonstrations or marches during the referendum, preferring the higher interests of the nation, and to preserve its sons’ blood,” the statement said.

The party supported the 30 June protests which led to the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi last year. According to the statement, the party's disagreement with the current regime started on 3 July (the date of Morsi's ouster) and the "bloodshed, imprisonment and violations" that followed.

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Tarik Toulan
13-01-2014 10:49pm
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A party that is not worth its name
Actually, the Strong Egypt Party is not worth its big, resounding name. Following the 2011 revolution, the ex-Muslim Brotherhood member, Mr Aboul Fotouh unexpectedly decided to run for president against the MB protocol, separating himself from the MB organization with the prospect of harvesting maximum votes from both Islamist and secularist political powers in the 2012 elections. However, he was out of the presidential race from the first election round that boiled down to Mr Ahmad Shafiq and Mr Mohammad Morsi. In October 2012, Mr Aboul Fotouh founded the Strong Egypt Party. But since then, the party has evidently failed to secure the public support Mr Aboul Fotouh previously expected; and what is worse is that it has been losing popularity constantly. As the saying goes, if you want to take everything, you will end up getting nothing.
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