Egypt's premier urges Egyptians to vote on constitution, expects a 'Yes' majority

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Dec 2013

Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi warns Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood may seek to derail January's upcoming referendum on a new draft constitution

Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi (Photo: AP)

Egypt's prime minister urged Egyptians Saturday to take part in the upcoming constitutional referendum, expecting a high turnout and a majority Yes vote. 

Egyptian premier Hazem El-Beblawi labeled the process the "most dangerous" in Egypt's transitional roadmap set forth by the country's interim leaders following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Interim President Adly Mansour announced a national referendum on the new draft constitution will take place 14-15 January 2014. The new constitution will complete the first step in the roadmap that envisages parliamentary elections and a presidential vote mid-2014.

El-Beblawi said in a television interview Saturday that boycotting the vote is tantamount to shirking a patriotic duty.

A government official told CNN Arabic that a LE500 fine would be imposed on those who fail to vote.

El-Beblawi forewarned that Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement would seek to hinder the vote through rumour-mongering and bribing. He vowed the vote would be free and transparent.

It remains unclear whether the Islamist group, subject to a broad security crackdown on top leaders and followers, will boycott the vote or call for a No vote.

A 50-Member Committee tasked with amending the 2012 Constitution finalised a new draft earlier this month.

Morsi was ousted by the military 3 July following mass protests against his one-year rule.

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