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State Council Judges' Club to oversee referendum with preconditions

After weeks of division and strikes within Egypt's judiciary over President Mohamed Morsi's 'power grab' decree, Administrative State Council judges agree to man the polling stations

Ahram Online, Monday 10 Dec 2012
Pro-Mohamed Morsi supporters hold sit-in outside High Constitutional Courty, Maadi, Cairo, 1 December, 2012 (Photo: AP)

Egyptian Administrative State Council's Judges Club announced it will oversee the national referendum slated to take place on 15 December, provided the ongoing sit-in by supporters of President Mohamed Morsi in front of the High Constitutional Court (HCC) ceases.

The decision to man the polling stations was taken during a meeting held between the judges early Monday. 

Members of Egypt's judiciary had initially announced that they would boycott the referendum following Morsi's Constitutional Declaration on 22 November which shielded his decisions from judicial review and protected the Islamist-dominated constitution-drafting body and the upper house of parliament (Shura Council) from dissolution.

The decree was seen by many judges to be a major threat to the independence and authority of the judiciary.

However, Morsi cancelled the declaration on Saturday, following a meeting held with a number of opposition forces in an attempt to reach a consensus over the current crisis. He also announced that the referendum will take place as planned in five days.

Since Saturday 1 December, several pro-Morsi supporters have been holding a sit-in outside the HCC in protest of the court's ex[ected ruling on the constitutionality of the Shura Council. As a result of their blockade of the building, HCC judges decided to suspend all their activities indefinitely.

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