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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora