“The proposed constitution is illegitimate as is the referendum on it, regardless of the result,” said opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei in a televised national address Thursday night.
“I speak to you today in the name of Sayed Belal, killed before the revolution for being a Salafi. In the name of Khaled Said, killed because we lived under an authoritarian regime. In the name of Ahmed Harrara, who lost both eyes so Egypt can move forward. In the name of the slums that do not have water or sanitation,” said ElBaradei.
The constitution is illegitimate, not because of the Islamic Shari’a law it tries to instate, but because it is a product of one group drafting it alone, and ignoring the majority of Egyptians, he said.
“All Egyptians are sad today because of the situation the country is in. The judiciary is on strike, the youth are sleeping in the cold on the streets, the media is surrounded, we do not trust each other, people are going hungry and without healthcare,” he said as he opened his speech.
The problem, continued ElBaradei, is not just the constitution but the failed policies, of which the constitution is one. Failed policies, he said, that have been ongoing for two years, right after the revolution, first under the leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, then under President Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The revolution happened for freedom, bread, social justice and human dignity. Two years later we have seen none of that because there is no vision. The economic situation is worse than before, security worse than before, Sinai worse than before,” he said.
The Nobel laureate explained the problem is that the entire transition to democracy was not handled correctly and that a constitution should have been drafted before parliamentary and presidential elections.
“We elected a president without a constitution and he did not have clear powers. The president fought with the military each issuing constitutional decrees to circumvent the other,” he said.
The solution, proposed ElBaradei, is a temporary return to the 1971 constitution with the amendments Egyptians voted on in March 2011, for a year or two, while an elected Constituent Assembly drafts a new constitution that truly represents the people and the revolution.
He called on all groups and political players to unite and think together of proper solutions, instead of being in a constant state of conflict.
“The problem is not President Morsy. We do not want President Morsy to step down, we want the country to step forward, and it’s not moving.”