Monday, December 17, 2012
Egypt's National Salvation Front calls for protests against rigged referendum.(AO).Egypt's opposition umbrella group, the National Salvation Front, calls for mass protests to take place on Tuesday in objection to the "numerous violations" witnessed in Saturday's referendum on the constitution. In a press conference held Sunday, the Front blames the Supreme Elections Commission (SEC), headed by Zaghloul El-Balshi, for the violations seen throughout the country. Just hours after the polls closed on Saturday, the Front stated that it had detected "unprecedented rigging," including 750 violations across all 10 governorates participating in the first phase of the referendum. Violations include unstamped voting papers (which makes them invalid), the names of deceased persons on voting lists, the absence of observers at polling stations and delays in opening polling stations. They also claimed to have detected at least 120 "fake" judges supervising at polling stations.
Many voters on Saturday complained of painfully slow queues; some waited for several hours and were still not able to cast their vote. In response, the Front demands that Saturday's results be cancelled and to re-run the first phase of the elections. Furthermore, they specify voters should get two days to vote: this referendum was allotted only one day, whereas traditionally any vote in Egypt is given two consecutive days.
The SEC should ensure the second phase of the referendum on 22 December - where the remaining 17 governorates will vote - is under full judicial supervision, especially in light of Saturday's violations, charges Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr, a member of the Front. The general assembly of the Judges' Club had refused to supervise the referendum on the constitution, uneasy with a decree that Morsi had issued on 22 November that gave himself more powers at the expense of the judiciary, although the decree was revoked. The Front says El-Balshi should hold a press conference to address the violations that have been recorded by human rights organisations. They also request he meet with the Front in preparation for the second phase. Rights organisations on Sunday recorded that overall approximately 7,400 violations were reported, which include 1,500 police reports against the violations.Read the full story here.