Morsi Annuls Decree, Advances Constitutional Referendum
Al-Ahram has just published (Sunday 12/9/12) in English translation the full text of a new constitutional declaration that revokes the controversial constitutional declaration issued by Egyptian President Morsi on November 22, 2012.
The earlier decree granting Morsi sweeping executive powers, which he insisted was necessary to move Egypt's democratic transition forward, did in fact break the deadlock over the draft constitution. According to Mohammad Salim al-Awa, spokesman for a national political dialogue held Saturday (albeit, boycotted by the major Morsi government opposition groups), maintained the most contentious article from the prior 11/22/12 edict, which placed all of Morsi's actions beyond judicial review, has been abrogated.
But the referendum on Egypt's newly minted, increasingly Sharia-compliant draft constitution, will proceed apace, under the following conditions, outlined in item 3 of the new declaration:
3- If the people vote against the draft constitution in the referendum on Saturday, 15 December 2012, the president is to call for the direct election of a new Constituent Assembly of 100 members within three months.
The new Assembly is to finish its task within six months from its election date. The president is to then call for a referendum on the new draft presented by the Assembly within thirty days of receiving it.
In all cases, vote counting and the announcement of results in the constitutional referendum is to take place publicly in election subcommittees as soon as the voting process is finished. The results are to be validated by the head of the subcommittee.
Despite polling data reported yesterday from Vote Compass Egypt, indicating a mass Egyptian popular support of 70% for the constitution, National Salvation Front "liberal" opposition leader Mohamed El-Baradei, with predictable (if delusive) bravado, tweeted shortly after 2 a.m Sunday 12/9/12,
We have broken the barrier of fear: A constitution that axes our rights and freedoms is a constitution we will bring down today before tomorrow. Our strength is in our will.