The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies having pushed through a draft Constitution which, according to the opposition, tramples the rights of non-Islamists, and fails to protect civil liberties and women, left the opposition in a bind.
The drafting of a new Constitution relied on good faith by those with the power over the legislative process to avoid the Constitution being a seizure of permanent power, good faith which was completely missing.
Boycott the election and by definition the opposition loses, hanging on to the claim of illegitimacy; participate, and give the Constitution further legitimacy if they lose.
The opposition decided to try to win the election and vote down the Constitution. Let’s hope they are successful, but based on the parliamentary elections, it seems doubtful.
Egypt’s fractious opposition urged its supporters Wednesday to vote “no” on a contentious Islamist-backed draft constitution but left open the possibility of boycotting Saturday’s vote altogether if several conditions were not met.
Hamdeen Sabahi, a leader of the opposition National Salvation Front, called the charter “distorted and flawed and lacking the most important condition, which is national agreement.”
For this, the Front has decided to call for Egyptians to go to the polls and vote ‘no,’ ” Sabahi said at a news conference.
But the decision — coming just three days before voting begins in Egypt — will probably have little practical impact on the street, according to analysts, who say the opposition is vastly out-organized by President Mohamed Morsi’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
The referendum, which is already underway for Egyptians living abroad and will begin Saturday for the 51 million eligible voters inside the country, comes amid legal chaos, with the judiciary as divided as the country itself.
In Egypt, judges are required to supervise ballot boxes during elections and referendums — which means that every ballot box must be under constant observation by judges during the voting process.
At the moment, however, some of the country’s most powerful judicial organizations have sided with the opposition and have refused to help supervise the referendum, citing what they consider to be an array of legal problems with the way Morsi and his Islamist supporters approved the draft charter and called for the vote. Other judges have sided with Morsi and agreed to supervise the vote, and it remains to be seen how many sign up for duty Saturday.
Anticipating a shortage, Egypt’s electoral commission said early Wednesday that voting would take place on two consecutive Saturdays.
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