News / Middle East

    Egyptian Opposition Rejects Morsi's Planned Referendum

    Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.
    Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012.
    Edward Yeranian
    Egypt's opposition National Salvation Front has announced that it will not participate in a December 15 referendum over a disputed draft constitution. Earlier, President Mohamed Morsi revoked part of a controversial decree giving him sweeping powers but insisted the referendum on the new document would go ahead as planned.

    The head of Egypt's Journalists Union, Sameh Ashour, told reporters Sunday that National Salvation Front leaders has decided not to participate in the constitutional referendum due to take place next Saturday.

    He says the National Salvation Front categorically refuses to take part in the December 15 referendum and will not give its blessing to a vote that will inevitably lead to more divisions and civil strife.

    Ashour went on to blast President Morsi and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group for their decision to go ahead with the constitutional referendum.

    He says that the National Salvation Front insists that what he calls repression, despotism and the hijacking of the state by the president and his (Muslim Brotherhood) group is contributing to the economic woes of all Egyptian families.

    • An Egyptian protester reads the newspaper as others sit next to their tents in Tahrir Square in Cairo, December 9, 2012
    • Egyptian men stand near writing on a wall in Arabic that reads down with the leader's rule, no to the Muslim Brotherhood in Tahrir Square in Cairo, December 9, 2012.
    • An Egyptian jet fighter flys over Tahrir Square as protesters gather, not pictured, in Cairo, December 9, 2012.
    • Anti-Mursi protesters walk near a military tank in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 8, 2012.
    • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood welcome tanks arriving outside the Egyptian presidential palace in Cairo, December 6, 2012.
    • Egyptian Army soldiers install barbed wire outside the presidential palace to secure the site of overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 6, 2012
    • Anti-Morsi protesters set off fireworks and shine laser pointers on a road leading to the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 6, 2012.
    • Protesters gather during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 5, 2012.
    • A wounded protester reacts during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi outside the presidential palace in Cairo, December 5, 2012.
    • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi carry a body of one of six victims killed during Wednesday's clashes, Al Azhar mosque, Cairo, Egypt, December 7, 2012.
    • Protesters opposing president Mohamed Morsi attend Friday prayers beneath a poster depicting protesters killed in the Egyptian revolution, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, December 7, 2012.

    Earlier Sunday, Egyptian Air Force jets overflew the center of Cairo at low altitude, as the country's political crisis continued unabated. A few hundred anti-Morsi protesters were clustered in both Tahrir Square and near the presidential palace.

    Calls by the opposition for a protest march to the presidential palace did not appear to spur a major outpouring of demonstrators Sunday. However, opposition leaders are calling for a million-man demonstration on Tuesday.

    Late Saturday, President Morsi made what opposition leaders called a “cosmetic” concession, agreeing to withdraw part of a controversial decree giving him sweeping powers.

    Mohamed ElBaradei, who heads the National Salvation Front, nevertheless continued to focus condemnation on the new draft constitution, which he said “thwarts our rights and freedom,” and “will be toppled today, before tomorrow.”

    Analyst Omar Ashour, who teaches political science at the University of Exeter in Britain, says Mr. Morsi's decision to hold the referendum is clever, because it sends the dispute directly to the people.

    "It was a very clever way to put it back to the people again, to signal that the opposition does not represent all Egyptians and the presidency does not represent all Egyptians. Whoever opposes (the referendum) will be un-democratic, will be the one who does not want to play (by) the rules of democracy and just wants to impose his will on the Egyptian people," he said.

    Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party began its push for a yes vote in next Saturday's referendum, posting an audio version of the new draft constitution on its website.

    However, Egypt's judiciary, which is needed to supervise polling, appears to remain hostile to the referendum. Al Arabiya TV reported that only 300 judges have agreed participate in the process, out of a pool of 4,000.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Selim from: Sydney
    December 09, 2012 9:03 PM
    I don’t think Egypt and the Egyptians need a president
    I think Egypt needs an elected Prime Minister rather than a president with a specific agenda to tackle issues like Economy, Unemployment, internal security and Human rights. Terms of service of round 2 years. A president maybe appointed by the Prime Minister to serve in a ceremonial role rather than becoming drunk with power as in the current situation.
    President Morsi, in less than 6 months managed to divide his people and the nation, right in the middle
    President Morsi is only supported by the extreme right not for anything other than his Islamic agenda
    What we have seen so far is simply political hooliganism not Democracy
    I would like to see the opposition in Parliament on TV not on the streets of Cairo!!
    Democracy is not just demonstrations and vote. These are just the apparent features of it . The rest have never been practiced in Egypt since the British occupation.
    Before replacing the constitution, Egyptians should review and upgrade their stand on human rights and how to device a document or a declarations that would comply with international standards.


    by: Seth_DeKooters from: Hartford, CT
    December 09, 2012 5:37 PM
    Now that Mr. Morsi and the parties that support him have done everything his opposition has requested they still refuse to allow the democratic process to work. The reality is the holdovers from the Mubarak era, and the parties they recently formed, were people bought and subsidized both publicly and privately by the United States to "make peace with Israel" and to prevent a democracy from actually coming to fruition. Why, because America does not want the pro-Palestinian Egyptian popular will implemented, period. Whenever Israel's interests are at stake, it seems any deception or hypocrisy is permitted. Why? Because that is the teaching of the Talmud.
    In Response

    by: Lu from: Boynton Beach, Fl
    December 09, 2012 8:45 PM
    The main issue IS the constitution. The Muslim Brotherhood simply does not represent all of Egypt and their forcing through the constitution shows they know that, in time, the Egyptian people would know them and reject them.

    Otherwise, why so thuggish?
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    December 09, 2012 8:26 PM
    the constitution draft is made of one party .it is made from Muslim brotherhood point of view. the other group left the constitution left the assembly because Isla mist want impose their will by any means necessary. when moers
    feel that legal system will reject that draft because it is only represent one party and ignore and existence of other Egyptian. moersi abolish legal system. the new draft has been criticize by united nation human right commission still moers and his party want impose Islamic law against the will of people . and he is fully aware that his group is a violent group will use that law as tool for violent act.it is the same story repeated from country to other country .Islamic law and civil war .it happen in Sudan and the shadow of civil war is about to happen in Egypt
    In Response

    by: Jim from: Vermont
    December 09, 2012 8:11 PM
    Seth, your reasoning Twilight Zone and while I do support the Palestinians over Israels attempt to steal their land, your comment regarding support of Israel shows a bias that has no basis in fact.
    In Response

    by: Allan
    December 09, 2012 7:41 PM
    " Now that Mr. Morsi and the parties that support him have done everything his opposition has requested "
    That claim is wrong. The oppositions have requested to postpone the referendum as well.
    In Response

    by: Allan
    December 09, 2012 7:35 PM
    What democratic process are you talking about???!!! Is the new draft constitution proposed and written by all Egyptian political groups and guarantees the freedom and right of all the genders,religoins,.. and groups within the egypt or it is dictated by radical moslems that only dictates the islamic rules to govern the country to exclude all but the radical moslems that guarantees a moslem dictatorship for centuries to come???!!!!

    by: farquar from: usa
    December 09, 2012 2:40 PM
    unless the referendem is written to include all people such as th ecopts, secularists, etc. into the constitution, there can be no United Egypt. Currently, the referendem only serves the ideals of islamists who want to use sharia law to bully everyone but themselves. Those who mete out the law are never found guilty - they always protect their own and do not have them go before these religious courts. so many women are raped, girls taken to forced marriages, men cheating on their wives - these men are never brought before other men to have their sin punished - it is always the women who suffer. the application of sharia law is corrupt and not just.
    and the referendem does not protect the copts, who have every right to believe in Jesus, God etc. as an Egyptian.
    the MB are liars and manipulators - buying people food so they vote for them....threatening others....trying to say if you don't support the MB you are a traitor - this is gross manipulation and lies. the people behind this referendum is Alziwari and eventually al queda - the Taliban -
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    December 09, 2012 4:05 PM
    the population of Egypt is 85 million. more than 70 % are illiterate .illiterate person should not vote. most of them dragged like a sheep to voting place . the law should serve the interest all people. the law is a code that keep the people safe. if a woman cheat on her husband ,this is not a crime even it is a sin. She. did not harm any person. why under Islamic law stoned her to death

    by: Anonymous from: Bangladesh
    December 09, 2012 2:37 PM
    This news is more related to the theory of Voluntarism then the other theories of conflict. Here, the opposition parties are playing a Voluntaristic role for the protest. It is questionable why they are still protesting when President Morsi has stepped back. Do they want extreme political unrest and then gain political benefit from that unrest or something else? Are there any other actors (such as army or outside actors) behind the scene? Otherwise, why are the groups so active to push back the government? Meanwhile, it appears that the institutions (although divided) are supporting President Morsi. Yet, we are hoping that in the long run this whole protest can bring good outcomes for Egyptian constitution and politics.

    by: ali baba from: new york
    December 09, 2012 11:54 AM
    moersi who apply the three monkeys . the monkey who closes his ear. The monkey who close his eyes
    .the monkey who close his mouth. He saw how people feel about his policy. But he continue regardless of feeling of people

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora