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Egypt's anti-Morsi signature drive is illegal, unconstitutional: Brotherhood figure

Muslim Brotherhood's Helmi El-Gazzar says 'Rebel' petition is destined to fail, stressing that – according to terms of new constitution – President Morsi must finish his term in office

Ahram Online , Friday 31 May 2013
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Leading Muslim Brotherhood figure Helmi El-Gazzar has described Egypt's ‘Rebel’ signature drive against President Mohamed Morsi as a "peaceful movement, but one that isn't based on the constitution or law."

Egypt's recently-approved national charter, El-Gazzar told Turkish news agency Anadolu on Friday, stipulates that President Mohamed Morsi must complete his term in office, making the 'Rebel' campaign "null and void."

The initiative, which hopes to collect 15 million citizens' signatures by June in support of a withdrawal of confidence in President Morsi, recently announced that it had managed to collect seven million signatures.

El-Gazzar, a board member of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), went on to insist that his party remained the most popular political party in Egypt.

He cited a recent FJP poll that found that Egypt's second most popular political party enjoyed the support of only 7 percent of the population. He further asserted that the opposition National Salvation Front umbrella group only enjoyed the support of 3 percent of the Egyptian public.

Nevertheless, El-Gazzar conceded that President Morsi’s first year in office had been "a tough one," adding that the president's second year "will be no easier."

"If the 'Rebel' campaign is able to mobilise 15 million people on 30 June, then a second revolution will likely ensue – but that's impossible," he stated.

When asked to assess the Muslim Brotherhood’s performance since Egypt's 25 January 2011 revolution, El-Gazzar said that the Islamist group had largely focused on domestic politics at the expense of its other traditional activities.

"Things became very shaky after the revolution," he said. "The group's trajectory must now be redirected."

According to a recent report issued by the Cairo-based Egyptian Centre for Public Opinion Research (Baseera), 47 percent of Egyptians are dissatisfied with Morsi's performance during his first ten months in office.

Baseera's opinion poll, which was conducted in late April, showed declining support for the Islamist president, who had enjoyed a 78-percent approval rating after his first 100 days in office.

In February, Baseera conducted another poll in which 44 percent of respondents said they would not be willing to re-elect Morsi for a second term.

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