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News Analysis: Egypt's constitution likely to pass referendum as people long for stability

English.news.cn   2013-12-15 23:29:23            

by Marwa Yahya

CAIRO, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- In a country marked by turmoil and split, Egyptians who long for stability are likely to cast a Yes vote with a high turnout in the upcoming referendum on the nation' s new constitution.

Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour called for a Yes vote for the referendum slated for Jan. 14-15. "I call on citizens to vote "Yes" to move forward the country's transition to democracy."

Citizens without political or religious affiliations are the decisive force for the referendum, said Gamal Salama, a professor of political science at Suez University.

The voting power of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails, is weak and limited compared with that of the ordinary people, Salama told Xinhua.

The Brotherhood lost the ability to "mobilize people" as the group's senior members are in jail over charges of inciting violence following Morsi's ouster on July 3, the expert said.

He noted the division among Islamists after the defection of the Salafist Nour Party also diminished the Brotherhood's influence.

The ultra-conservative Nour party, which came second after the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in the nation's last parliamentary vote, urged its supporters to back the draft constitution.

The charter is the first step toward stability sought after by all Egyptians and could prevent a cycle of chaos and sabotage, said Younis Makhyoum, head of the Nour party, in an earlier report.

There is no going back and the roadmap for this nation will continue and Egypt is keen to implement law, restore the state's prestige, and respond to the people's demands, Mansour said in his speech on Saturday.

Mansour called on those who oppose the current political settlement, in reference to the Brotherhood, to "give up their stubbornness" and stop "following mirage and illusions."

He expected 70 percent to 80 percent of the people who turn out will vote Yes.

Most of the political parties including the Nour party back the charter, while the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a pro- Morsi coalition, opposes the document and said it will boycott the public vote.

Salama reckons the coalition will take part in the referendum, vote No and, try to derail the whole process by violence.

But Magdy Qarqar, a leading member of the alliance told Xinhua that taking part in the process even with No will give the roadmap and the military-installed interim government some legitimacy.

He added the group might reconsider its stance of boycott on two conditions -- international supervision and measures to pave the way for national reconciliation.

He deems a big segment of the society even the liberals will vote against the document as they regard it "against freedoms and human rights."

The new constitution contradicts democratic principals as it strengthens the army's superiority and puts more restrictions on the formation of religious political parties, Qarqar reiterated.

Meanwhile, political activist Haitham Shawaf also predicted an overwhelming Yes vote as approving the constitution is a real step on the way to strengthen the country.

Despite the military's certain wrongdoing, including putting citizens on military trials, Shawaf said the majority of citizens care about economic development, political stability and better security conditions, which could be achieved by approving the constitution and holding the presidential and parliamentary elections.

He argued some of the revolutionary powers are divided over the new charter but most of them will vote Yes to prevent the Brotherhood from coming back to power.

Also, Tharwat el-Kharabawi, breakaway member of the Brotherhood, said the referendum will ultimately validate the constitution as " the people have realized its approval means stability."

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
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