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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Egyptian oppositional powers plan the march to the Presidential Palace on Tuesday

Mohamed Morsy, Egypt's President

After numerous protests against Mohamed Morsy’s recent Constitutional Declaration which gives him almost unlimited powers and the draft of the Constitution Egyptian oppositional forces and groups have been planning to organize the peaceful march to the Presidential Palace located in Heliopolis, Cairo. The march was planned for Tuesday, 4 December 2012.

After Egypt’s President issued his decree which immunized the controversial Constituent Assembly from dissolving, the Assembly strongly dominated by Islamist forces and experienced the massive withdrawals of liberals, secularists, women and representatives of Church and Egypt’s minorities has held the 16-hours marathon meeting and voting for the articles of the draft of the country’s future Constitution. The constitutional draft was agreed among the members of the Constituent Assembly, and on Saturday the draft was sent to the state’s President.

Amid the massive protests nationwide against the presidential decree and the controversial draft of the Constitution and the parallel Islamists’ marches to support the President and the draft of the Constitution Mohamed Morsy announced the date of the national referendum for the Constitution’s issue. The referendum is planned for 15 December 2012. It’s also worth mentioning, that Egyptians living abroad will vote on 8-10 December at the embassies and consulates of Egypt.

However the oppositional forces, mostly liberals and secularists, declared they refuse to accept neither the Presidential decree nor the draft of the Constitution which they claim to be undemocratic, as it was created by the Assembly which doesn’t represent Egyptian society but only some groups of it. The oppositional forces’ representatives have been calling for the protests against this move and there were also the calls for boycotting the referendum,

Egyptian judges and journalists have been planning the protests and strikes, there were also calls for the massive workers’ strikes.

The united oppositional front, the recently created National Salvation Front which consists from the representatives of different liberal, leftists and secular forces, has issued a joint statement on Sunday and called for the peaceful march to be held on Tuesday 4 December. The march will express the disagreement with the Constitutional Declaration of Morsy and with the draft of the Constitution put on the national referendum as well.

I would like also to share here the Ahram Online article regarding this issue. The article was originally published here.

Egypt opposition groups announce plans to march on presidential palace

Political forces opposed to President Morsi's November decree and draft constitution say they will stage peaceful march to presidential palace on Tuesday

Ahram Online, Sunday 2 Dec 2012

Several Egyptian political parties and groups have issued a joint statement announcing their intention to peacefully march to the presidential palace in Cairo at 5pm on Tuesday to voice opposition to President Mohamed Morsi's recent decisions and the date that has been set for a nationwide popular referendum on Egypt's draft constitution.

"The constitution project that Morsi wants to put before a referendum is in fact a project for tying down the political, civil, social and economic freedoms of Egyptians," read the statement, published on the Egyptian Popular Current's official Facebook page.

The statement went on to question the draft charter's constitutionality, stressing its rejection of the date set – 15 December – for the upcoming referendum.

Egypt's High Constitutional Court had been expected to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of Egypt's Constituent Assembly (which wrote the draft constitution), but the ruling was postponed indefinitely after large numbers of pro-Morsi protesters gathered outside the court's downtown headquarters on Sunday.

Egyptian Constituent Assembly
Groups opposed to Morsi, which have been occupying Cairo's Tahrir Square for over two weeks, accuse the president of working in the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party.

"This is a final warning to Mohamed Morsi, who was democratically elected president: his policies, which favour his party and group, will cause the dissolution of his legitimacy," read the statement.

On Saturday, despite continued protests against Morsi's recent constitutional decree, which protects the Constituent Assembly from legal challenge, the president announced that the draft constitution would be put before a nationwide referendum in two week's time.

The statement was signed by eighteen political parties and groups, including the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Free Egyptians Party, the National Front for Justice and Democracy, the 6 April youth movement, the Democratic Front and the Kefaya movement.

Anti-Morsi forces have threatened for several days to march on the presidential palace in Heliopolis if constitutional declaration was not withdrawn.

Veteran journalist Abdel-Halim Qandil, a fierce critic of the president, and the Mubarak regime before the revolution, has called in a tweet "on the judges, workers, and underground metro drivers to strike and to march on the presidential palace" to defeat the president's decrees.

Many judges, who are on strike against the decree, have already threatened not to monitor the referendum if the president did not rescind his decisions.

Meanwhile, shortly after the president finished his speech on Saturday night calling for a vote on the draft constitution, Mohamed El-Beltagy, the Muslim Brotherhood main operative in the Constituent Assembly, called on the opponents of the draft to fight it - if they disagreed with it - by mobilising a NO vote not to protest.

El-Beltagy, a leading member also in the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, told Ahram Online that if the opposition defeats the draft at the referendum set for 15 December, a new Constituent Assembly will be chosen via direct elections.