Judge Zaghloul al-Balshi, head of the Egyptian Constitution Referendum Supreme Committee, called upon all Egyptians to head to the polling stations on Dec. 15 to vote pro or against the first post-revolution constitution.
“The disputes going on about the constitution are part of a conflict between political powers and this should not affect voters,” Balshi told Al Arabiya.
Balshi accused political parties calling for boycotting the referendum of their inability to engage in confrontation, in a clear reference to liberal and civil powers that have been leading massive protests against the constitution and demanding the cancellation of the referendum.
“Those powers should raise awareness among the people instead of staging protests. That is how they can demonstrate their leverage in the street.”
He called upon all players in the Egyptian political scene, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to stop organizing demonstrations and to focus on voicing their opinion through referendum.
When asked about the controversy surrounding the constitution and the articles that are believed to curtail freedoms and undermine the principles of citizenship, Balshi replied that no constitution is perfect.
“Even the American constitution has problems and is frequently criticized.”
Balshi explained that the constitution can always be amended through the parliament if any of its articles prove incapable of catering to the needs of Egyptians.
Regarding threats by judges to boycott the supervision of the referendum, Blashi said that those who are willing to take part would be enough.
“More than 6,000 judges from the State Council, the Administrative Prosecution Authority, and the State Cases Authority are willing to supervise the referendum. We will be able to have one judge for every three ballot boxes.”
Balshi stressed that he will withdraw from the committee in case of any violent incidents on the day of the referendum.
“I have also given instructions to all the judges to close the polling stations and leave if they are subjected to any kind of harm.”
Balshi argued that the constitution should only be passed if the percentage of voters who approve is high enough.
“I personally believe that the percentage of approval should be as high as 70% because the constitution serves as the supreme law that regulates all the country’s affairs.”