Why Vote ‘NO’ on Constitutional Amendments?

March 17, 2011

1.     Because article 75 eliminates potential characters and is ‘unconstitutional’ in spirit as it interferes with personal freedoms.

2.     Because article 77 does not oblige the interim president to stay for one round only which means he could stay for a total of 8 years.

3.     Because article 139 does not allow for the vice president to be elected or identified in the president’s elections campaign.

4.     Because Tarek Bishry’s explanation for why article 139 was not rightly modified acknowledged that it did indeed need the modification, but that they couldn’t do it because it would have contradicted the constitution’s structure, the constitution’s core. And the committee wasn’t qualified to carry that out because that would have meant changing the constitution when they were merely modifying it.

5.     Because article 87 (50% farmers and workers, socialist constitution, practically ineffective) has not been modified and the shura council (major unnecessary expenses, waste of resources, unnecessary expenses) has not been suspended for the same reason – violates the constitution’s structure.

6.     Because article 148 does not define what constitutes a state of emergency and does not have any precautionary clauses to prevent the president from re-declaring the state of emergency again and again after first aborting it.

7.     Because article 189 (and its added clauses) does not guarantee that a new constitution will be written during  the transitional period. The phrasing does not state, without any room for doubt, that the president is mandated to call for the establishment of a committee to write the new constitution, it merely makes it an option. Both the President , after the approval of the Cabinet, and half the members of People’s Assembly and Shura Council have the right to call on the committee, but neither are mandated.

8.     Because they did not add an article to allow for Egyptians abroad to vote. They said it is not a constitutional problem, it is a capacity program (we don’t have enough judges), but why didn’t they add a specific clause for supervision of elections abroad so that its supervised by ambassadors or why allow for votes to be mailed directly to the committee like other countries? I’m sure something could be figured out.

9.     Because the constitution with the constitutional amendments contradicts itself e.g. amended article 77 says the President’s term is 4 years while another article in the constitution says ‘after the end of the president’s 6 years’.

10. Because the only article of all the amendments to recognize the revolution is article 189. All other articles represent a response to demands made between 2007 and 2011 and not the demands of the revolution. The revolution upped the standards and  is asking for a whole new system not a better on under the old corrupt regime.

11. Because there were amendments made on the amendments and until now we have not seen the final version of those amendments and we have a bad history of reading one thing before the referendum and, come referendum day, we discover we were voting on something else. What Am I Voting Yes to on Saturday?

12. Because the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces suddenly announced a couple of days ago that saying YES will result in a Constitutional Decree without explaining what does that mean exactly?  Is it the same Constitution with the amendments and some disabled  articles like Noha El Zeiny Said? What Am I Voting Yes to on Saturday?

13. Because, if it is indeed the above scenario, the constitution still allows massive powers to the president, despite the amendments.

[For those who say this is paranoia and people in power are very careful these days not to mess up, I say I don’t want to build my future on what I perceive to be people’s intentions. Mubarak, Sadat and Nasser all had good intentions at the beginning. Different visions clash and power corrupts. Democracy means the guarantee of the laws and institutions. I want laws that guarantee and protect, I don’t want loopholes.]

14. Because the response to points 8 & 9 was that we could work with only part of the constitution and suspend some articles – more patchwork.

15. Because the NDP approves of the amendments.

16. Because those who are saying yes say that the Constitution did not fall and had not been overthrown, but that it was merely suspended when it in fact fell twice: first, when the revolution called for ousting the system, and second when the president delegated his powers to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (no where in the constitution did it say he can do that). By saying it did not fall they are not acknowledging and implicitly undermining one of the Revolution’s achievements.

17. Because these are the same amendments that Mubarak suggested when he was trying to illude the revolution and not actually respond to its demands.

18. Because, out of all the available scenarios, saying yes means having the largest number of elections (3 elections in the first year of transition and then more elections in the second year) in the shortest period of time. (not good politically and economically).

19. Because saying no eliminates all other options and means parliamentary elections (in June or September?) will take place before presidential elections (september or ??).

– Because having parliamentary elections in 2 months means new political parties won’t be able to effectively participate and compete.

– Because having parliamentary elections in 2 months means that the new parliament won’t be representative of the political currents in Egyptian society.

– Because, according to these amendments, that same unrepresentative parliament will (if decides it wants to) be responsible for electing a new constitutional committee which will in turn write the new constitution which be the foundation of a whole new era.

20. Because, unlike what is being said, saying yes does not mean choosing stability.

21. Because, unlike what is being said, saying yes does not mean choosing security.

22. Because, unlike what is being said, saying yes does not mean that the military will leave right away. Either way, they won’t leave before December and almost for sure they will stay longer.



One Response to “Why Vote ‘NO’ on Constitutional Amendments?”

  1. Cole said

    Good post. Very straightforward. I wish I had read this before the referendum because you couldn’t find a darn thing in the American news about the real details of what people were voting on and the disagreements that many (although unfortunately not enough) Egyptians had with it.

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