Assiut Judges Club votes against supervising constitutional referendum

The Assiut Judges Club voted against supervising the upcoming constitutional referendum, scheduled for Saturday, during an emergency general assembly meeting Sunday. Meanwhile, the national elections commission is expected to announce procedures for the vote sometime Monday.

The Assiut club’s decision, which received an absolute majority of votes, was framed as a rejection of the constitutional declaration issued on 22 November, which members say undermines judicial authority and independence.

The assembly, however, left it up to individual courts to decide whether or not to suspend work in protest of the constitutional declaration.

The State Council Judges Club will hold a press conference Monday at noon to announce the judges’ final decision on supervising the referendum.

The Judges Club board had also met Sunday to discuss supervision of the referendum and the latest constitutional declaration, issued by the president Saturday.

President Mohamed Morsy had issued a constitutional declaration last month that gave him more powers and protected his decrees from judicial review. He canceled that decree late Saturday after negotiations, but the draft constitution quickly written under the decree’s protection will still be put to a vote Saturday, as planned.

The High Elections Commission, meanwhile, is set to announce procedures for the upcoming constitutional referendum within hours, state-owned newspaper Al-Akhbar reported.

The announcement will include the number of judges who will supervise the vote, scheduled for Saturday, and the polling stations. Expatriate Egyptians will begin voting Wednesday.

The commission, led by Cairo Cassation Court head Samir Abul Maaty, met Sunday to follow up on preparations for the nationwide referendum. The committee received a letter from the Foreign Ministry concerning its preparations for the expat vote. The commission also received a sample of the ballot papers.

Edited translation from MENA

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