- Middle East/North Africa
President Mohamed Morsy called on voters on Saturday to take to the ballot boxes on 15 December to vote on the Constitution.
The current draft followed a tumultuous process, with the 100-member Constituent Assembly witnessing numerous withdrawals by liberal, leftist and Church representatives in objection to Islamist control over the Constitution writing process.
Morsy received the final draft from the Assembly on Saturday, following a marathon session that started on Thursday, whereby all articles of the Constitution were approved by most remaining members of the committee. He vowed to resign if the Constitution is not endorsed through the planned referendum.
In a televised address, Morsy thanked the Constituent Assembly. He praised the fact that it is the first democratically elected assembly in the country's modern history. "We appreciate the efforts of previous constitution-writing committees, but all of these were appointed by royal or presidential decrees."
Morsy said that despite the challenges of the transition, this period is coming to an end. He added that the will of the people has prevailed since the March 2011 constitutional declaration and throughout the parliamentary and presidential elections that followed. He then addressed the present members of the Constituent Assembly, telling them, "You were chosen in three phases: through the March referendum, then the parliamentary elections and then through internal elections within both houses of Parliament.".
A "yes" vote on the March 2011 referendum on a constitutional declaration issued by the then-ruling military council meant that parliamentary elections precede the writing of the constitution and that the draft would be conceived by a committee chosen by elected MPs. This was the preferred choice of Islamist forces who foresaw their success in the parliamentary elections.
The current draft is criticized for several limitations, particularly with regards to freedoms.