Center for World Conflict and Peace

Center for World Conflict and Peace

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Egypt's Constitutional Referendum

Tomorrow, March 19th, 2011 is supposed to mark a momentous day in Egypt’s history. Egyptians from all walks of life are voting "Yes" or "No"on a referendum of proposed constitutional amendments.

In my case, and the case of many Egyptian activists, political leaders and members of my community, who were part of the January 25th Revolution, we all have decided on voting "NO" on what is considered to be patched constitutional changes that would only benefit remnants of the old regime and members of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

One of the main demands of the Egyptian Revolution was the creation of a new and democratic constitution. Ultimately, that is what we would like to achieve. By rejecting the amendments with a majority "NO" vote, we hope Egypt’s interim leaders decide to scrap the amendment process and begin rewriting the constitution.

The authorities assured us that it would be a fair referendum. But I am alarmed by news I heard today and news I have been hearing over the past few days from different sources. Supposedly, members of NDP and MB intend to use incentives to sway citizens to vote Yes" tomorrow. Furthermore, both groups are purportedly paying people all over Egypt to form long lines at voting locations to deter people from voting.

I will be waking up early and going with my neighbors to vote at a nearby school. Members of our neighborhood committee are planning to guard the voting station from thugs and protect the referendum’s monitors. I am not as excited as I was about the referendum after hearing about the alleged dirty tactics. All I can do is hope for the best and do my part by voting.

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