Egypt's PM urges roadmap supporters to vote on constitution

Ahram Online, Tuesday 3 Dec 2013

Egypt Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi says referendum on amended version of 2012 will be crucial for country's future

Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi speaks during a news conference in Abu Dhabi October 27, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Calling it a "moment to save society," Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Bablawi has urged those who took to the streets on 30 June to also show their support by voting for the recently amended constitution.

January's public referendum, in which the nation will decide whether or not to adopt the newly amended document, is not a time for indifference, El-Bablawi said.

Even if some of the constitutional articles are not agreed upon by everyone, he said, it would be inappropriate to stay at home and not vote.

Some articles have stirred controversy, like article 204, which stipulates that civilians can be tried before military courts under certain conditions.

"We want a community that discriminates against no one, believes in freedoms, and calls for social justice," El-Bablawi said.

The 50-member committee tasked with amending the constitution finished voting on the document late on Sunday. On Tuesday it was presented to interim President Adly Mansour, who is expected to put it forth for national approval in a referendum.

Amending the constitution had been a major part of the transitional government's political roadmap. The former constitution, from 2012, had been drafted by an Islamist-majority constituent assembly under the rule of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Critics had voiced concerns that the document had not been inclusive enough.

A veteran economist, El-Bablawi has led the interim government formed after Morsi's ouster, caused by mass protests against his rule.

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