The National Salvation Front, a coalition of liberal, leftist and nationalist forces, called on all Egyptians Wednesday to vote ‘no’ in Saturday’s referendum on Egypt's draft constitution, provided certain preconditions are fulfilled.
The NSF, which is headed up by opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei as well as former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa, held a meeting Wednesday morning to agree on whether they would boycott the polls or vote against the draft national charter.
The constitution, the coalition say, neglects social and economic needs, does not reflect the aspirations of the Egyptian people and will enforce a "presidential dictatorship."
“We hoped that the Egyptian president would cancel the referendum or at least postpone it but it seems that this is not an option now that voting has already started abroad, so we have decided to call on all Egyptians to vote against the constitution,” said Hussein Abdel-Ghani, spokesman of the NSF.
However, NSF laid down certain conditions for their participation in the polls.
They will only vote if the referendum takes place on one day, if it has full judicial supervision, if there is security inside and outside the polling stations, if international and national civil society monitors are permitted to observe the voting process, if the vote-count starts immediately after the polling stations close and if the results are announced as soon as the stations close.
The general assembly of Egypt's Judges Club announced on Tuesday that “90 per cent of its members will not participate in supervising the referendum," however the Administrative State Council Judges Club and the State Lawsuit Authority said that they would.
It is not clear how the voting process will be run as only 7,000 judges are expected to supervise the polling stations and there are more than 13,000 ballot boxes.
According to the 30 March Constitutional Declaration, passed last year by the then ruling military council, the referendum should be directly supervised by the judiciary.
Many political parties and revolutionary groups opposing the referendum have already started campaigning for a ‘no’ vote, including 6 April Youth Movement and former presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh's party Strong Egypt.