CAIRO, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The referendum on Egypt's new draft constitution slated for Jan. 14-15 represents a major milestone in the country's future roadmap, political experts said.
The referendum marks the first time that Egyptians would go to the polls since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by the military last July, after mass protests against his one-year rule and his Muslim Brotherhood group.
On Saturday, army chief and defense minister Abdel-Fattah al- Sisi said the new constitution would represent "one-third of the future roadmap," calling on all Egyptians to take part in the referendum and not to "embarrass" him and the army.
The new constitution is a prior step to pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections in the country which is now run by an interim president and a transitional government.
Gamal Salama, head of political science department at Suez University, said the constitutional referendum would mark "a beginning for the establishment of new executive and legislative institutions to fill in the vacant leading posts in the country."
"A new constitution may lead the country to more security and stability," Salama told Xinhua, noting that the constitutional referendum is like "a written registration to document the demands of the masses who took to the streets on last June 30 to remove Morsi."
Salama expected at least 50 percent of the 53 million eligible voters to take part in the polls and that the new constitution would be approved by a majority of votes.
Meanwhile, he commended Sisi's invitation for the people to go to the polls. "His invitation will have a great effect on the people who would respond to protect their demands."
In mid-August 2013, Egyptian security forces dispersed two major pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza, leaving about 1,000 people dead. The police also arrested thousands of Morsi's supporters, including Brotherhood leaders.
Ever since, Morsi's supporters have been holding protests against the current interim leadership, calling for Morsi's reinstatement and urging for boycotting the upcoming referendum on the new constitution meant to replace the one drafted and approved under Morsi.
However, a large turnout in the upcoming referendum is seen by analysts as a sign of support for the current leadership and the post-Morsi future roadmap.
Ahmed Qandil, a political expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, shared Salama's view that the political conditions in the country are likely to be settled after the referendum.
"Approving a new constitution and completing the post-Morsi roadmap are major steps toward better political and economic conditions," the political expert told Xinhua.
Qandil explained that the constitutional referendum is "a preparatory stage for a new political leadership" that would work on improving the country and reuniting Egyptians.
The political expert lamented that three years of turmoil, since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in January 2011, represented a real "setback" for the country, hoping that 2014 would witness more stability for the country. "The people cannot stand such chaos any longer."
CAIRO, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's army chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said Saturday that he would run for president only "if the people demand it and the army gives him a mandate," official Al-Ahram news website reported. Full story
CAIRO, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Cairo Criminal Court adjourned on Wednesday the trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi over inciting killing protesters to Feb. 1 due to the bad weather that prevented his transport to the court, the state TV reported. Full story
CAIRO, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Having been through three years of turmoil, Egyptians wish stability for their country ahead a constitutional referendum seen as a milestone in the nation's political transition.
"I wish that 2014 will bring peace, security and prosperity to my people, and I believe that voting on the constitution, then holding the presidential and the parliamentary elections will be the most important events for the new year," said Ahmed Hassan, a florist, 23, who was decorating his shop overlooking the Nile River in Maadi district, southern Cairo. Full story