Strong Egypt Party, angered by arrests, considers referendum boycott

Ahram Online, Wednesday 8 Jan 2014

The party, which supported the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, has accused the transitional government of being anti-democratic

abdel moneim aboul fotouh
Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh talks during interview with the Associated Press at his home in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 (Photo: AP)

The Strong Egypt Party has said that it is reviewing whether or not to boycott next week's constitutional referendum.

The party, which has given cautious support to the transitional authorities since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer, had announced in December that its members would vote no in the upcoming poll.

Security forces have since arrested a number of members of Strong Egypt after seeing them putting up stickers and posters calling for a no vote, Al-Ahram Arabic reported.

In a statement released on Monday, party spokesman Ahmed Imam condemned the arrests and said the action had prompted the party to rethink its participation in the referendum on the newly amended constitution, due to take place on 14-15 January.

Imam said in the statement that the authorities have provided conferences and banners for the vote yes campaign but have not given a similar opportunity to youth members of Strong Egypt to campaign for a no vote.

Imam accused the authorities of not accepting different political views and of being anti-democratic.

The Strong Egypt Party, founded by moderate Islamist and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, also refused to join the 50-member committee that amended the 2012 constitution.

In December, the party announced it would campaign for a no vote because the charter has the same deficiencies as the 2012 version it seeks to replace, “failing to promote social justice and gave too much power to the president.”

Abul-Fotouh said the draft does not fulfil the goals of the January 25 revolution and makes the military a "state above the state."

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