Egypt's interim president urges people to vote, praises draft constitution

Ahram Online, Sunday 12 Jan 2014

A national referendum on Egypt's new draft constitution is scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday, 14, 15 January

(Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour said Sunday that "the adoption of this new constitution," amended from the 2012 Constitution, "will pave the road towards serious steps on the path to democracy."

Mansour, in a televised speech on the day of commemoration of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed, praised the draft constitution scheduled to be put to a national referendum 14 and 15 January, stating that Islamic Sharia law is the basis of the draft constitution's legislation.

He continued his praise by saying the new draft respects all other religions and maintains the rights and freedoms of everyone.

"Let’s go [vote] the day after tomorrow, as we [took to] the streets on 25 January 2011, 30 June, 3 July and 26 July 2013 to fulfill our revolution the way we wanted it, with a constitution that fulfills the first step to a civil modern democratic state," Mansour said.

The president's speech comes one day after Egypt's defence minister, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, called on Egyptians to "uphold their national duty by voting in large numbers" in the draft constitution referendum.

Mansour says the country is facing a "vicious attack from inside and outside" and that the "brute hand of terrorism is hitting here and there."

Violent attacks have increased since the 3 July ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood regime following mass protests across Egypt against them.

The restive and underdeveloped Sinai, in particular, has seen an uptake in militant violence with regular attacks killing dozens of security personnel.

Egypt has poured troops and armour into the region while waging a sustained crackdown on Islamists — principally Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood — elsewhere.

The attacks edged nearer to Egypt's capital when a bomb exploded late December near a security directorate in Daqahliya governorate killing 16, and injuring more than 135.

Sinai's Ansar Bayt Al-Maqadis, an Al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Egypt's interim government blamed the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood denied the charge.

On 25 December, the interim government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist" organisation, detailing prison sentences for those who associate with the group.

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