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Morsi's supporters, opponents to demonstrate ahead of Egypt's constitutional referendum

English.news.cn   2012-12-11 15:32:47            
 • Both supporters and opponents of Morsi will take to the streets in Cairo Tuesday over the referendum.
 • Tuesday's rivalling protests have raised fears of street clashes like the ones last week.
 • Morsi on Saturday issued a new constitutional declaration, annulling the previous one on Nov. 22.


CAIRO, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Both supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will take to the streets in Cairo on Tuesday over the planned referendum on a controversial constitution this Saturday.

The opposition, made up of secular, left-wing, liberal and other groups, have called for marches to the presidential palace Tuesday afternoon to protest against the hastily arranged referendum, which they say is undermining secular traditions, human and gender rights, and the independence of the judiciary.

The Islamist Coalition, composed of 13 Islamic parties and movements including the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, has urged its followers to turn out "in millions" the same day in a show of support for the president and for a referendum they feel sure of winning.

Tuesday's rivalling protests have raised fears of street clashes like the ones last week in which seven people were killed and hundreds of others injured.

Egypt's elite Republican Guard has flanked the presidential palace with tanks, barbed wire and concrete barricades.

Late Monday, President Morsi granted the military the right to arrest civilians while protecting state institutions in the run-up to the referendum on the nation's new constitution.

Army officers have powers of arrest, the presidential decree says.

Over the last week, the Egyptian military has watched without intervening anti-Morsi demonstrators around the palace.

Morsi on Saturday issued a new constitutional declaration, annulling the previous one issued on Nov. 22 designed to expand the president's powers by making all his decrees issued since he came into office final and above judicial appeal.

In its third article, the new constitutional declaration said that if the new constitution was voted down in the referendum, the president would call for electing a new assembly through direct ballot to draft a new constitution. The new 100-member panel will be elected within three months after the announcement of the referendum results.

But the new draft has not shaken the opposition.

"We do not recognize the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," National Salvation Front spokesman Sameh Ashour told a news conference on Sunday.

They were trying to stop the referendum or at least boycott it.

Last Thursday, Morsi delivered a speech inviting the opposition for dialogue, but the National Salvation Front, led by former diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, rejected the invitation.

Egypt's Judge Club of the State Council said Monday that they would supervise the constitutional referendum with some conditions.

"We preferred forgetting about the controversy over the constitution and following the public opinion that will show through the polling boxes," Hamdy Yassin, head of the club, told reporters.

Meanwhile, the club stipulated some conditions, including securing the polling committees, forbidding propaganda out of polling stations, securing the headquarters of the Higher Committee for Elections, and ending the sit-in outside the Supreme Constitutional Court.


Egypt's judge club to supervise constitution referendum with conditions

CAIRO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's Judge Club of the State Council announced Monday that they would supervise the constitutional referendum scheduled for Dec. 15 with some conditions, the state-run Nile TV reported.

"The voters need us to supervise the referendum, and if we don' t fulfill our duty, we will let them down," Hamdy Yassin, head of the club, said at a press conference.  Full story

Egypt's draft constitution referendum remains on Dec. 15

CAIRO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's draft constitution referendum will remain on Dec. 15 as planned, and the Egyptians will vote between accepting the draft constitution as an official one or forming a new constituent assembly, state TV reported in the early hours of Sunday.

According to reports from official media, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has issued a new constitutional declaration, ruling that the upcoming draft constitution referendum will start on Dec. 15 as scheduled.  Full story

Editor: Luan
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