Islamist-leaning reformist judge under the former Hosni Mubarak regime, Mahmoud El-Khodairy warned Thursday that any retreat from the current plan to hold the referendum on 15 December, "will bring back the country to military rule."
In a call-in to Al-Jazeera Misr television station, Khodairy, who is also a former MP, stated that the process has to take place as planned, as per Article 60 of the March 2011 constitutional declaration.
"I do not see any flaws in the current constitutional referendum. I have read it over four times and think it is one of the best constitutions drafted," he asserted. He further added that he does not see the reason why so much blood is being shed over it.
Khodairy's warning stands as a reminder of the period following the ouster of Mubarak in February 2011 and that lasted until August 2012 when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) under the leadership of Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi was in command. Following the killing of 16 border guards in Sinai, President Mohamed Morsi ordered Tantawi and Sami Anan — then the military's second in command — into early retirement, ending SCAF rule.
SCAF had been greatly criticised for its authoritarianism and use of extreme brutality against opposition activists, in addition to the referral of unprecedented numbers of civilians to military trials.
Khodairy's comments come a day after bloody clashes between pro and anti-Morsi forces outside the presidential palace in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo. Six protesters were killed and over 450 injured after pro-Morsi supporters attacked a peaceful sit-in protesting Morsi's 22 November decree giving himself near absolute powers and a constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated body that opposition forces say is unrepresentative of Egyptian society as a whole.