Despite no guarantee of proper oversight, vote 'no' to constitution: NSF

Ahram Online , Friday 14 Dec 2012

Egypt's National Salvation Front call on voters to say 'no' to constitution in spite of no guarantee of proper referendum monitoring

ElBaradei was flanked by former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa

The National Salvation Front (NSF), coalition of opposition parties and figures, stressed on Friday its stance against the new constitution, saying it calls on people to say 'no' in Saturday's referendum as a way of rejecting the "illegitimate" constitution and in spite of no guarantee of proper monitoring.

At a press conference held at the Free Egyptians Party headquarters in Zamalek, NSF member and former Minister of Manpower, Ahmed El-Borai demanded that people say 'no' to the constitution.

El-Borai stressed they should have the right to choose the process of forming an alternative constitution drafting body.

The former minister's statement comes in response to the presidential decision announced, following a dialogue meeting last week, which had been boycotted by the NSF. The statement added if the constitution is rejected in the referendum the new constituent assembly should be chosen through direct voting.

"When our nation says no [to the constitution draft] we should have the right to decide how to form a new constituent assembly," said El-Borai.  

Former MP and NSF member, Amr Hamzawy highlighted that the opposition has done everything to express its rejection to the draft constitution, including mass demonstrations and sit-ins.

"Now we ask the people to say 'no' and the polls show we have a good chance," Hamzawy confirmed.

"We have faith that people will vote against a constitution that contains no social justice or equality," he said.

Hamzawy assured a 'no' vote will win if there is no rigging or violations are committed during the referendum.

Head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Mohamed Abul-Ghar confirmed that the only thing that would stop any possible rigging is that all people participate and document any violation.    

Head of the Lawyers' Syndicate, Sameh Ashour for his part stated that the number of judges so far register to supervise the elections have not confirmed they will be attending the referendum, which means that there will be a high rate of absence amongst the judiciary registered to supervise on Saturday.

"The Freedom and Justice Party have recruited more than 200 university professors, all of whom are Brotherhood members, to replace the judges expected not to show up tomorrow," alleged Ashour.

Ashour called on the High Electoral Commission (HEC) to revise the list of judges registered for the Saturday referendum, refusing they are replaced by professors.

Many judges have followed the decision of the Judges Club General Assembly to boycott the national constitutional referendum, objecting to the president's decisions immune several of his decisions from court appeal, and change the prosecutor-general, arguing the president has placed himself above the law.

Founding member of the NSF, Hussein Abdel-Ghani also stated there will be an operation room managed by several political parties and led by Egyptian Social Democratic Party member and rights lawyer, Ahmed Fawzi, to monitor any violations or rigging.

"NSF is not trying to create obstacles, as they claim…despite the fact that most guarantees [for free and fair elections] were not provided, we still insist on voting 'no.' We have faith that our nation will participate and will say' no' to a constitution that will not serve its interests," said Abdel-Ghani, referring to the lack of judicial supervision and civil society monitoring.  

The NSF added it will not be recognizing the results if any rigging or violation were seen or documented during the electoral process. No guarantees to proper monitoring were provided, the front added.

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