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Will you vote this year? - Daily News Egypt

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Will you vote this year?

This will be the third year in a row that Egyptians will vote on a constitution. Yet another referendum with yet another Yes campaign. Vote Yes for stability , they said in 2011. Vote Yes for Islam, they said in 2012. Vote Yes for your country, they are saying in 2013. Never are there campaigns …

Managing editor Rana Allam
Rana Allam

This will be the third year in a row that Egyptians will vote on a constitution. Yet another referendum with yet another Yes campaign. Vote Yes for stability , they said in 2011. Vote Yes for Islam, they said in 2012. Vote Yes for your country, they are saying in 2013. Never are there campaigns to “Read”, only to vote Yes… be it through TV shows or the huge posters and ad campaigns all over the streets of the country.

Here are sample answers from different factions on whether they will vote this year:

Islamists: This is an illegitimate referendum by an illegitimate regime. My constitution still stands and when we bring about the downfall of the putschits, this 2013 constitution will be null and void. It is only a matter of time before we rule again and this whole fiasco is over. The 2012 constitution was voted for and approved by the majority of Egyptians and we will not accept anything else. I will not vote for a constitution written with the blood of Egyptians!

Stability junkies: I will vote Yes, of course. We need all this to end. I do not want to see protests anymore. It is time we have our stability back, our work to grow and for this disruption to end. Let the constitution pass, so that we can have elections and end this transition that has brought everything down. It is time to move forward and stop this revolution, which has only resulted in chaos and insecurity. General Al-Sisi knows what he is doing and I am behind him 100%. What is wrong with military trials of civilians? Whoever touches an army officer deserves what is coming to him. Our army is our honour and we will protect our honour and our country. Don’t you see what the army has done for us? They helped topple Mubarak and Morsi, what more do you want? Such an unpatriotic ungrateful person you are!

Mubarak’s Foloul: I will not vote! This is a Salafi/Leftist constitution that makes no sense. I will not approve the taxes system they want and I am definitely against the shared authority between the president and the prime minister. This simply means that some political faction will get a big share on the decision making in this country, because said prime minister will be from the parliament’s majority party. This is insane!

Revolutionary:  I would never vote Yes for a constitution that allows for military trials of civilians or for an immune Minister of Defence. This constitution gives the president more power over the parliament than Mubarak had, can you believe this? It also gives parliament the authority to vote for renewing the state of emergency, and not through a public referendum. They actually did not set rules for the provisional custody of people; so basically, they can detain political opponents indefinitely! We are talking Mubarak days here! This is completely unacceptable, did our friends die for this? Saying Yes is a betrayal of everything 25 January stands for!

Bored citizen : Vote? Again? Absolutely not! What difference does it make? They will pass their constitution just as all the rulers have before. I stood in that long queue waiting my turn and wasting my time and effort on politics and politicians. What good came of it? I have not seen a single good day for two years. Let them do what they want; they can all go to hell as far as I am concerned!

As has always been the case, revolutionaries and rights activists are the ones with a cause: freedom, justice and democracy. Most of them have actually read the constitution and formed an opinion, and as is the nature of revolutionaries, they would not budge or settle for anything less than idealistic goals. Rulers have changed, but how they deal with this camp remains unchanged. Silence them, jail them and in some cases, kill them. All the while, the campaigns against them are ongoing, and people are starting to believe the monologue delivered by TV show hosts. The fact that most of them reject the violent dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in, Protest Law and overall management of the transitional period and the ever-so-long roadmap prompted many “bored” Egyptians to view them as troublemakers who have failed to bring about justice to the people.

Given their dwindling popularity, very few people seem to be listening to them at all, and every other side is voting for a person/regime, and not on the constitution. It has become, since the March 2011 referendum, a question of allegiances and not of rights and rules.

And the problem is that with such a constitution, it is only fair to evaluate it based on allegiances, given that it has no singular political line. It is neither Islamist, liberal, leftist nor would it sit well with social democrats. It has no identity therefore it has no true bloc backing. It is also one of these documents that every faction, including the “bored citizen”, believe will not last. Everyone seems to see this constitution as “interim” as the government that passed it.

The YES to Egypt campaign might do the trick with many Egyptians, given the hardships they see every day, and they want this phase to end and for the Islamists to disappear. However, a larger segment would probably say, “Forget it, I am not leaving my couch”… and this will not be a political statement, either!

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  • Reda Sobky

    Your have become a total cynic and I don’t know what you are doing writing articles like this. If you can’t take your writing seriously and put forward well thought out pieces I suggest you take a sabbatical and rethink your professional commitment.

    • sam enslow

      People should only write articles with which you agree? Any diviation from your though process is “unprofessional”? Actually, the article reflects what I hear in coffee shops everyday.

      • Reda Sobky

        I don’t feel that the issue is agreeing or disagreeing with me or anybody. It feels more like classifying everybody in such a manner as to eliminate any possibility that a person who is genuinely eager to do something which benefits his country and thus classifying everybody based on base motivation. When i also listen to a wide swath of Egyptians I hear a lot of concern for what is good for the Egypt they will leave behind for their children. Is there no room for a concerned well meaning Egyptian who actually values this effort at developing a modern Egypt by building a consensus for positive change? Please let me know what you think?

        • sam enslow

          Your problem is in defining terms. This is a problem facing Egypt. Although I have no use for them, The Brothers and the other Islamists believe they are building a better Egypt for their children. Those who did well under Mubarak and that system, want to pass on that status to their children. The poor would like to partricipate in the economy and be able to provide their children with a brighter future. Politics is all about “interests.” The job of statesmen is to unite all these “interests” and show all parties how they benefit from change and reform, A cheap politician will play one group against the other for immediate benefit. Today it seems statesmen are in short supply.
          You seem to have a rather Ayn Rand view of economics. Those that follow this thinking seem to forget that those who ran companies paid their employees well and in gold. In “The Virtue of Selfishness” she argues that social justice should be sought not out of altruism but because it serves the long term interests of the economy.
          All those people who have jobs but no work have grown up in a environment where the elites encouraged and established an economic system based on that of the former USSR. The security aparatus is based on that of the KGB and Gestapo. The police think as they were taught to think. The people follow the example of those in the former USSR, “They pretend to pay us. We pretend to work.” To change Egypt, one must change thinking. To evolve to a stronger economy, it is necessary to stop cutting up the pie into smaller and smaller pieces and start making a bigger pie.
          No one yet has proposed any plans to change Egypt or discussed any programs with the people. Slogans only are offered. No one, except the Islamists, work in the villages and actually talks with the people there. The massive corruption in Egypt contributes to the continued decline in the country. No one mentions this. No one discusses reforming state institutions, eliminating paperwork and sweets. No one takes any responsibility for anything. Yet they will strut and say they rule Egypt. As long as the government is considered consisting of actors and snakes, the people will not support it. It makes no difference who is the hero of the day.

    • wepump

      Cynic how can one not become one. Every time I look at a 1LE coin not I see Egypt every time I turn on the TV or radio I hear and see Islamic tear down country I see Anarchy for 3 years we removed a pharos/ Police state to replace him with a Military government than we voted in an Islamic government who turned into an Islamic/ police state we then Had a Coup if you like to replace this with a Military/civil state now on the 2nd constitution that is a bit better than any Egypt ever saw we see the Anarchists from the liberal left join forces to again destroy that pound note with the Islamic who have always wanted the Pound gone as they after bigger fish a Islamic middle east under one caliphate from Malaysia to Mali and after 3 years no one who has offered any middle ground and compromise its time to stop children what’s that sound everyone needs to look at what’s coming down EGYPT

  • Ahmed Bata

    I will take that bet Rana. I bet you the apolitical couch nonvoters will be miniscule.

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