Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gaza: online reactions

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rise of the Robots

Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Israel identifies ‘missing’ soldier in Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Widodo poised to become Indonesian president

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

  • Kristoff wins Tour’s flat Stage 15

    Read more

Africa

Egypt’s judiciary to oversee constitutional referendum

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-12-03

Egypt’s top judicial body announced on Monday that it would delegate officers to oversee a December 15 referendum on President Mohammed Morsi’s controversial draft constitution, a day after judges launched a strike over the draft.

Egypt's most senior judges announced on Monday they would delegate judicial officers to oversee a referendum on a controversial draft constitution, overriding calls for a boycott amid growing popular unrest.

The judges' decision brings a measure of relief to President Mohamed Morsi even as pressure mounts against him in the streets, with the opposition calling a new protest rally for Tuesday.

The new charter, which was rushed through by the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly after Morsi on November 22 issued a decree expanding his powers, has become the focal point of Egypt's biggest political crisis since the president was elected in June.

Morsi's decree and the adoption of the constitution by an Islamist-dominated panel has polarised Islamist and largely secular forces with Cairo becoming the theatre of mass rival rallies.

The latest demonstration is scheduled for 1400 GMT on Tuesday, when a coalition of opposition groups, including Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei's party and supporters of former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, are to rally outside the presidential palace to oppose the charter and the referendum.

But the Supreme Judicial Council's announcement that judges would after all monitor the December 15 nationwide referendum required for the draft constitution to pass into law comes as a blow to Morsi's opponents, including judges, who had hoped to delegitimise the vote.

Mohammed Gadallah, Morsi's legal aide, told AFP the decision meant that the referendum would after all take place under judicial supervision.

"The largest body responsible for judges is the Supreme Judicial Council," Gadallah said. "They realised they had a responsibility before the nation to supervise.

"This means, it's over," he said when asked whether it was still possible for the vote to be boycotted by judges.

On Sunday, the Judges Club, which represents judges nationwide, said it would not oversee the referendum on the new constitution.

Judicial anger at Morsi's decree, which puts his decisions beyond the review of the courts, rages on however and on Monday judges began an open-ended strike.

The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) suspended its work indefinitely due to "psychological and material pressure" following a protest by Morsi supporters which judges said prevented them from delivering a key ruling that might have dissolved the panel that drafted the charter.

"REFERENDUM WILL BE A CHALLENGE TO ORGANISE"
They had intended to hold the session in defiance of Morsi's decree, which barred them from making a ruling on the charter or the Islamist-dominated senate. The court had previously disbanded parliament.

Egyptian expatriates will begin voting on the constitution ahead of time, starting on Saturday when embassies will extend their opening hours, foreign ministry spokesman Amr Roshdy said.

The press threw its weight behind the mounting protests against Morsi, with an editorial in daily Al-Shuruq printing: "Beware -- fascism is coming."

"When Islamist protesters surround the SCC headquarters and prevent judges from entering, know that the seeds of a fascist state have been sown," it said of Sunday's demonstration outside the constitutional court.

Eleven independent and opposition party newspapers have declared they will not go to print on Tuesday.

The draft constitution, which is to replace the one suspended after president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in early 2011, has been criticised for failing to protect key rights and allowing a stricter interpretation of Islamic law.

Morsi's supporters accuse the opposition judges of being elitist holdouts from the Mubarak-era who oppose Islamists.

Morsi and his supporters have stressed that his new sweeping powers are temporary pending the ratification of the charter by public vote.

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-12-03

  • EGYPT

    Egypt’s judges refuse to oversee referendum

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Pro-Morsi protesters stage counter rally in Cairo

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Anti-Morsi dissent grows as protesters pack Tahrir Square

    Read more

COMMENT(S)