Egypt's referendum: A defining moment once again

Nader Bakkar , Sunday 12 Jan 2014

A no vote could lead to further chaos for the country

Egyptians are a few days away from voting in the referendum on the amendments to the 2012 constitution. The upcoming referendum is a defining moment in the history of Egyptians. In fact, the adjective “defining” has been used too often over the past three years, clearly indicating the complexities of the Egyptian scene and the battle of wills in the arena.

Since it is a definitive moment, most Egyptians have gone beyond objective debate on the constitutional amendments; no one talks about the pros and cons unless it is to attack the opposing camp and refute their suspicions, doubts and concerns.

According to the camp which decided to vote yes to the amendments, their decision was largely based on the notion of “enforcing stability,” because the path that follows a yes vote is clear and will transport everyone directly to the last two milestones before the end of the transitional phase. These milestones are parliamentary elections followed by a presidential race, or the other way around (there are still negotiations until this article went to press between political forces and the presidency about which election will come first).

Voting no in the referendum will lead to a great unknown, possibly taking us back to the 2012 constitution in its first draft or even further back by ratifying the 1971 constitution which was annulled after the January 2011 revolution. This would deepen the crisis and possibly open the door to all-out chaos which will drown the entire country.

Even those who said they would boycott the referendum base their decision on their rejection of how the roadmap was adopted on 3 July, and thus do not recognise anything that has happened since. The Muslim Brotherhood made their position known early by declaring they will boycott the referendum because it would mean recognition of the incumbent regime, which in turn would mean serious splintering within the group that none of the current leaders of the Brotherhood can handle.

The Brotherhood boycott is only for media consumption, however, and I am certain on the ground the entire Brotherhood will come out in full force at ballot stations to vote against the amendments, while other Brotherhood groups will take to the streets across the country as voting begins in order to discourage voters. They may even go further by intentionally obstructing the Egyptian masses and clashing with them.


Short link: