Socialist Worker

Egypt's new constitution will entrench army rule

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2386

Revolutionary Socialists are calling for a no vote

Revolutionary Socialists are calling for a no vote (Pic: Hossam el-Hamalawy)


Egyptians were voting in a referendum on a new constitution as Socialist Worker went to press.

The military regime put forward the new constitution to replace one instituted by former president and Muslim Brotherhood supporter, Mohamed Mursi, a year ago. 

There is a massive campaign for a yes vote that includes liberal and even some left organisations. 

The Revolutionary Socialists, the 6 April movement and the Revolutionary Front, are among the minority calling for a no vote. 

“This is a referendum on military rule,” said Wassim Wagdy, an Egyptian Revolutionary Socialist currently living in Britain. 

The new constitution allows military trials for civilians and threatens to curtail workers’ rights. 

The right to strike becomes a “right regulated by law”. 

Criminalise

This means that future governments could criminalise industrial action.

Fatma Ramadan, from the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, spoke about workers’ concerns to Ahram Online. 

She said any new law “will merely serve business owners”.

Supporters point to sections that support personal freedoms.

Wassim said these are meaningless at a time when activists are being arrested and denounced as terrorists just for campaigning for a no vote. 

Yet many people who opposed Mursi now see the army as the only alternative and are ready to vote yes. 

The regime wants to use a yes vote in the referendum to, in Fatma’s words, “stifle the revolution that brought them to power”.

 


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Article information

International
Tue 14 Jan 2014, 18:22 GMT
Issue No. 2386
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