The 19th of March 2012 is the anniversary of the constitutional amendments referendum, the relapse of our unfinished Egyptian Revolution against injustice, unemployment, corruption, and inheritance of power.
The constitutional amendments referendum was held on the 19th of March 2011. More than half of its components were about the mechanism and conditions of candidacy for the presidential elections. I went to vote in the afternoon in a nearby committee. I remember I spent a couple of hours on my feet under the blazing sun in a long, seemingly motionless queue of women (mostly yes-voters), listening to their drivel talk about the goddamned constitutional changes! I was wallowing in vexation when my overzealous sister popped next to me in the queue. She was smiling jubilantly & her eyes were teeming with ecstasy, so I guessed that she was done with her voting. She offered me some water and urged me to take her conspicuous tiger print umbrella because she thought my head must be on fire! I mulishly refused & thanked her politely but the nosey woman ahead of me interrupted our talk & implored me to take it so that she could benefit from my shade! So I ended up holding that remarkable umbrella high up to shade the woman ahead of me for almost an hour! Although I was sweltering, my arm was aching, my nape was sunburnt, and my head & feet were throbbing, it was worth it… despite the fact that the yes-voters won in the end.
And that was the second mistake made by the revolutionists, the first one was leaving Tahrir Square so soon before seeing actual reforms take place. It’s because of those amendments that we’re still slogging through the mires of the old regime, the comeuppance for going to vote while people were being killed in Mohamed Mahmoud Street near Tahrir Square!
According to the referendum on constitutional amendments which was approved by a majority of Egyptians, the road map agreed upon was to hold the parliamentary elections, then the presidential elections and finally commence writing the constitution through a committee chosen by members of the People’s Assembly and the Consultation Council (Shura) in the presence of a legislative and an executive authority elected by the people. According to this path, opening the door to the presidential elections is supposed to be directly after the elections of the Shura Council, i.e. at the end of the month of February. This means that Egypt will have an elected president in the middle of the month of April 2012 at the latest, and working in parallel to that will be the selection of the founding committee of the constitution to begin the drafting and completion by the dates specified in advance in the referendum, six months to the Committee’s composition and six months to draft the Constitution.
The Military Council has identified a different road map that requires writing the constitution before the presidential elections with a promise to conduct these elections in June 2012, which means:
- It contradicts the constitutional amendments referendum which was approved by more than 14 million Egyptians in March 2011.
- The drafting, completion, and sanction of the constitution before the presidential elections could lead to the postponement of the elections or worse, to rush the committee into writing the Constitution of Egypt without giving the community that is aspiring to democracy, the chance for necessary discussions.
- This proposal may grant special privileges and exceptional statuses to the Military Establishment in the Constitution that might threaten the democratic construction, in which all the institutions of the modern state that we seek to build should be under the supervision of the authorities elected by the people represented in the Parliament and the President.
A year has passed since the revolution. We accomplished a lot; we busted out of oblivion and silence, we broke the fear barrier, we toppled the regime, ousted Mubarak and put him, his ministers who represented this corrupted regime as well as his sons behind bars. We overthrew the succession plan not only in presidency but in all the institutions of the state. We had the fairest elections in 60 years, despite the zillion transgressions from most of the candidate parties and members! We watched the first meeting of the People’s Assembly with great joy and hope. Our journey towards democracy is not over. We have come so far but we’ve still got so far to go. In order to complete the journey, we needed to demonstrate and call on the basic demands of the revolution, i.e. the transfer of power from military to civilian rule as soon as possible, and writing the Constitution of Egypt under the civil authorities elected by the people.