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Vote Yes without delay

The proposed constitutional amendments are not designed to be final, but only provisional, to navigate this critical moment

Gamal Abdel-Gawad , Sunday 13 Mar 2011

Anyone who is keen to have life return to normal as soon as possible should approve the proposed constitutional amendments. The revolution is a success, erasing tyranny and social injustice; like any revolution it was like an earthquake that shook the foundations of state and society. Now it is time to restore what can be restored and rebuild what was destroyed under the pressure of revolution. Hence, I am calling on all Egyptians to vote for the constitutional amendments during the referendum on Saturday.

The suggested amendments offer a clear roadmap — no longer than 18 months in duration — to a new constitution drafted by a committee chosen by members of parliament, and put to a referendum for all the Egyptian people. The suggested amendments do not give us a new constitution but are a bridge to safely drafting a new permanent constitution. I call on all good citizens to consider the amendments a temporary measure and not to judge them as the constitution by which the country will be administered in the coming years.

The best part of these amendments is that while pointing the way through the interim period, they have not left the country with a power vacuum and political unknowns. Instead, they propose filling this vacuum with legitimate, elected institutions after free and honest elections for the People’s Assembly and Shura Council are held, under complete supervision by the judiciary. They also refer to the election of a president who is legitimate and holds complete power, albeit restricted to prevent the elected president from becoming a new dictator who squanders our chance to move forward towards overall democracy.

I believe that electing a president and the two houses of parliament is a vital step laid out in the amendments, vital while the challenges facing Egypt are intense. We cannot ignore these challenges during a long interim period as we build governing institutions and a constitutional framework. Meanwhile, the economy is under severe pressure because of the standstill brought about by unrest. This is combined with the unstable legitimacy of authorities that draw their legitimacy from the political system that we must rebuild quickly.

Foreign challenges facing Egypt will also not wait until we slowly finish writing a permanent constitution and building a new political system. The challenges surrounding us, from the east and west and south, cannot be neglected and are too perilous for us to distract our heroic army from addressing them.

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