Egypt Independent

State Lawsuits Authority agrees to supervise referendum

The State Lawsuits Authority announced it would supervise the constitutional referendum slated for 15 December, in a press conference Tuesday.

The authority had announced it would not supervise the vote until President Mohamed Morsy’s constitutional declaration, which he issued on 22 November, was canceled.

"Supervising the referendum is a duty that cannot be neglected," a statement said, but said that its acceptance is not mandatory for judges who do not want to take part.

The club also called on Islamist forces to end their sit-in before the Supreme Constitutional Court as well as at Media Production City. It also called on the relevant authorities to protect voters and judges during the voting.

Zaghloul al-Balshy, the secretary general of the High Elections Commission, said that he would resign from the commission if bloodshed took place before or during voting in the constitutional referendum slated for 15 December.

Balshy added he would also order judges to close polling stations if they are harmed during voting. Balshy told Al-Arabiya satellite channel on Tuesday that the current number of judges is more than enough to supervise the referendum on time, and he called on all political forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to stop staging protests and cast their ballots instead to show their power.

According to Balshy, 51 million voters are registered, and he said the constitutional ideally should be approved with more than 70 percent.

Balshy said he was optimistic about the referendum and sought to assure voters that he would supervise the process without bias, adding that a judge would supervise every three ballot boxes.

He also said that all countries’ constitutions have mistakes, including the US constitution, and that the Egyptian constitution could be amended by Parliament.

Non-Islamist opposition forces have been staging protests outside the presidential palace and Tahrir Square over the past period of time to object President Mohamed Morsy’s call for holding the referendum on constitution drafted by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly.

The opposition calls for postponing the referendum until consensus on the constitution is reached. Clashes among the supporters and opponents left at least seven killed.

Judges had earlier said they will boycott supervising the constitution, but the Judges Club will announce Tuesday whether or not they will participate in the boycott.