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Referendum signals step forward in Egypt transition roadmap

English.news.cn   2013-12-14 23:43:41            

CAIRO, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Egypt will hold a referendum on the new draft constitution nationwide on January 14-15, official news agency MENA reported on Saturday.

"I call upon you to vote in a referendum on the draft constitution on January 14 and 15," interim President Adly Mansour said in a televised speech in the presence of Amr Moussa, the head of the 50-member panel that drafted the new charter, and several high-ranking officials.

The new constitution is the most important step in a transition roadmap drawn up by the army after the ouster of Islamist ousted president Mohamed Morsi on July 3 and should be completed with parliamentary and presidential elections next year.

A 50-member assembly finalized the document and handed it to interim President Adly Mansour on December 3.

The draft allows the authorities to switch the order of elections expected next year as the roadmap required parliamentary elections to be held first, but the new constitution would allow a presidential election first.

The document is the conclusion of the efforts of the professional lawmen and legal experts, Mansour said in his speech.

"The new draft constitution is the fruits of long constitutional operation in Egypt since 1920s," the interim president said, adding that the new text considered all new world documents with regards to freedoms, human rights and balance and separation among authorities.

There is no way for going back and the future roadmap for this nation will go on and Egypt is keen to implement law, restore the state's prestige, and respond to the people's demands, he added.

According to future roadmap, the constitutional referendum will be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections amid summer of 2014.

The interim government suspended the previous constitution which was written mainly by Islamists, after massive protests against Morsi's rule.

Mansour praised the new draft reiterating "It is a good start on which to build the institutions of a democratic and modern state."

The new text was criticized by the human rights movements as stipulated the civilians may be tried by military courts in a range of crimes related to the army such as direct assaults on military facilities, camps, military areas, borders, military equipment and vehicles.

Most of the political parties including the ultra-Salafist Nour party back the charter and called the people to vote with YES.

The pro-Morsi alliance, formed mainly from Muslim Brotherhood, opposes the document and announced it will boycott the referendum.

The alliance, which organizes almost daily protests to call for the reinstatement of Morsi, said in a statement earlier; taking part in the process even with NO means giving legitimacy to the roadmap and the interim government.

During his speech on Saturday, Mansour invited those have different opinions during the past period to have the courage and to avoid stubborn and obstinacy which cost the country's security a lot, in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, the group of Morsi.

"I invite them to join the national process and stop seeking illusions."

Let us take from the new constitution a text to unit rather than separate, he added noting "hatred doesn't build nations but differences are legitimate rights."

The Egyptian people suffered a lot of injustice and made two great revolutions within three years as a result, said Mansour. " Time is now ripe to stand against those who carry out terrorism," he added.

Now, we have a document that every citizen should be proud of, said Mansour. The day of the referendum is an excellent opportunity to prove to the world how strong and powerful the will of the Egyptians is, added the president.

From its side, grass-root Tamarud campaign which spearheaded June 30 protests against Brotherhood rule, stated in a statement on Saturday its full confidence that the Egyptian will vote with YES.

Also Moussa said the people with its positive overwhelming power will approve the new charter with overwhelming majority.

The Elections High Commission announced the individuals who are proved absent in the referendum process will pay fine worth 500 Egyptian pounds (nearly 72.6 U.S. dollars) according to laws of practicing the political rights.

Editor: yan
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