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NSF calls for “no” vote in referendum - Daily News Egypt

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NSF calls for “no” vote in referendum

Their conditions for participating are still not met

Leaders of the National Salvation Front head civil parties march to Tahrir against presidential constitutional decree. (DNE / Basil Al-Dabh)
Leaders of the National Salvation Front head civil parties march to Tahrir against presidential constitutional decree. (DNE / Basil Al-Dabh)

The National Salvation Front, the largest opposition group, called on Egyptians to participate in the Saturday constitutional referendum and vote against the proposed draft.

“The National Salvation Front declares all peaceful measures possible to bring down this constitution legitimate, which is why we call on the people to vote against it,” said Popular Current leader Hamdeen Sabahy during Wednesday’s press conference.

The Front presented a list of five conditions which it would not participate in the referendum without, such as full judicial oversight and proper security both inside and outside voting booths.

The opposition also called on the government to allow observers from local and international non-governmental organisations to monitor the referendum and to announce the results in detail.

Finally, the NSF demanded the referendum be held over the course of one day. The Supreme Elections Committee had suggested holding it over two days earlier, due to the lack of judges willing to participate.

“The Front assures everyone that if these conditions are not met by the morning of the referendum, we will withdraw from participating and will call on the people to do the same,” said Sabahy.

Despite their decision to participate, the Front still called on President Mohamed Morsy to postpone the referendum for two or three months and hold a “serious national dialogue” with the aim of achieving a consensus over the draft constitution.

“We want to stress that this referendum is not the end of the road and that our people, with the National Salvation Front at their side, will continue the struggle for bringing down this constitution and reach another one through national consensus in order to achieve the goals of the 25 January revolution.”

At the time of print, Morsy issued a presidential decree at the request of the Supreme Electoral Committee to hold the referendum over two days: Saturday 15 December and Saturday 22 December.

This breaks one of the conditions the NSF put forth in order to participate in the referendum. Front spokesperson Khaled Dawoud told Daily News Egypt this does not necessarily mean they will no longer participate, just that no final decision has been made yet.

“I think we just took the decision, so far we are participating. This was one of several conditions [we put forth to participate] but there will be other meetings [to revise the decision],” said Dawoud.

The NSF is a broad opposition coalition composed of several secular and revolutionary parties and groups.

Al-Dostour Party Chairman and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei serves as a coordinator with Sabahy and former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, being the two other notable opposition leaders.

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