Egypt referendum vox pops: Word on the street

Yasmine Fathi , Thursday 13 Dec 2012

Ahram Online hits the street to ask non-partisan Egyptians about their views on the upcoming constitutional referendum

(all photos by Mai Shaheen)

Wafaa Magdy, newspaper seller

Wafaa Magdy

I will vote 'yes' in favor of the new constitution. I like many articles, especially the one that says widowed and divorced women will receive pensions. I also think it is important to have stability in the country. We cannot say no to everything President Mohamed Morsi does. We cannot contradict everything. We need to give him a chance to do his work. Many of my friends will vote ‘no’ since they say that the constitution only represents the Islamists. However, I think that we should vote “yes” because it will insure stability.

Mahrous Abdallah, book seller

Mahrous Abdallah

I will vote 'yes.' I sell the constitution to people and I read it at least eight times. I think it is very good. I know that people have reservations about certain articles, like Article 219 regarding Christians. But I think the constitution gives unprecedented freedom. We have never had a constitution with so much freedom before. It also gives divorced and widowed women pensions, which is very important. I think that people who will vote 'no' either don’t understand the constitution or are saying no for political reasons because they do not like the Muslim Brotherhood. They think that this is the Brotherhood’s constitution, but it is not. It is the constitution of all Egyptians.

Hossam Fahmy, security guard

Hossam Fahmy

I will vote 'no' to the constitution because it serves only the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi and ignores everyone else. It gives the president exceptional powers and puts him above the law. The constitution also does not state anything about securing the Sinai border and that makes me worried. Besides all of the president’s decisions so far are bad. This is his constitution, so it is probably bad too.

Waleed Abdel Salam, shop owner

Waleed Abdel Salam

I am going to boycott because I believe that my voice does not count. I voted in the presidential elections and they lied and said that Morsi won. The elections I am sure were rigged. And the constitutional referendum will be rigged too, so it doesn’t matter if you vote 'no' because your voice does not count.

Sabry Azzam, beans vendor

Sabry Azzam

I have not yet decided if I will vote or not. I really do not care. I work in Downtown Cairo and we see saw many protests; we suffer from the tear gas. I just want stability; I want all the fighting to stop. I do not see how the constitution will help me or change my life. The only article that I like is the one that reads the state is responsible for the treatment of patients. We all know how much ill people suffer in Egypt. So I think this article is vital.

Mohamed Antar, worker at the petrol station

Mohamed Antar

I will boycott the elections. I am not a very educated person and I do not know much about politics. Yet, I heard the judges are boycotting the elections and they are educated people. The judges see that the constitution is bad; they know what they are talking about and probably know more than me. They are the symbols of our nation. I am also angry that the president refused to postpone the referendum. Why do they not want to give people more time to understand the constitution and to discuss it? Is that not a bit suspicious?

Shaaban Rashad, fruit seller

Shaaban Rashad

I will boycott the referendum. I simply do not understand anything. I watch the programs about the constitution on television and it is very confusing. The television hosts get people who defend it, and they sound like they make sense. They get people who oppose it, and they also make sense. I am lost and confused. I do not know what to believe and I do not trust anyone anymore. So, I will not participate.

Ismael Abdel Aziz, retired engineer

Ismael Abdel Aziz

I will vote 'no.' You cannot boycott. You have to go vote to bring these Islamists down. You have to be proactive and do something to stop this disaster. I do not like this constitution because it does not have national consensus. The Islamists wrote it and refused to give anyone else a voice. The Copts have no say whatsoever in the final draft and this is ridiculous. They are our partners in this nation and our equals. They have every right to be represented in the constitution. I also do not like Article 14 that ties workers wages to production and not to prices of goods and services. It should be correlated with the prices. This is an Islamist constitution and as far as I am concerned the Islamists do not represent the constitution. This is a youth revolution.

Short link: