By Manar Mohsen
The Tamarod campaign said on Wednesday that they are nearing their goal of gathering 15 million signatures on a petition withdrawing confidence from President Mohamed Morsi.
The movement has called for peaceful mass protests on June 30, including a march to the Presidential Palace, to demand early presidential elections.
“We are still gathering and counting signatures. We can say for certain that we have gathered more than 13 million signatures and are close to 15 million,” said Mai Wahba, head of Tamarod’s media office.
Tamarod announced on Tuesday that they intend to meet their goal by 20 June and submit a full petition to the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) before 30 June in request of an official withdrawal of confidence from President Morsi. The campaign’s members are currently in talks with legal experts on how to proceed once they finalise the petition.
According to constitutional expert, Tharwat Badawy, the Tamarod petition does not have any legal bearing regardless of the number of signatures.
“Since [Morsi] was elected, the only legal procedure that can remove him would be through elections, the same process by which he was brought into office, not by signatures on a petition,” said Badawy. The current constitution dictates it is only through the ballot box that citizens can elect or remove a president, he explained.
Badawy added that there are a few countries in the world where citizens have the power to impeach the president. In such cases, the country’s law specifies the procedures that citizens must follow to withdraw confidence from the president, and in all cases, it is through a ballot box process rather than petition signatures.
The Tamarod campaign has gained considerable attention in the form of support and opposition from different political forces in Egypt. In a press conference by the Conscience Front on Wednesday, Chairman of Al-Wasat Party Abul Ela Madi accused Tamarod of planning to instigate violence during the 30 June protests.
Amid threats and accusations by Islamist forces against the campaign, Wahba denied that Tamarod relocated its headquarters on Tuesday due to fears of an attack by Islamists.
“It is true that we feel there is a threat to our safety, especially after supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail said they would attack our headquarters,” she said. Wahba clarified however that Tamarod’s recent relocation to the office of the National Coalition for Change was temporary, and solely due to logistical reasons.
The movement has been working in various governorates with several political forces to raise awareness on the shortcomings of the current administration and garner support for the 30 June protests.