Several Egyptian political parties and groups have issued a joint statement announcing their intention to peacefully march to the presidential palace in Cairo at 5pm on Tuesday to voice opposition to President Mohamed Morsi’s recent decisions and the date that has been set for a nationwide popular referendum on Egypt’s draft constitution.
“The constitution project that Morsi wants to put before a referendum is in fact a project for tying down the political, civil, social and economic freedoms of Egyptians,” read the statement, published on the Egyptian Popular Current’s official Facebook page.
The statement went on to question the draft charter’s constitutionality, stressing its rejection of the date set – 15 December – for the upcoming referendum.
Egypt’s High Constitutional Court had been expected to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of Egypt’s Constituent Assembly (which wrote the draft constitution), but the ruling was postponed indefinitely after large numbers of pro-Morsi protesters gathered outside the court’s downtown headquarters on Sunday.
Groups opposed to Morsi, which have been occupying Cairo’s Tahrir Square for over two weeks, accuse the president of working in the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party.
“This is a final warning to Mohamed Morsi, who was democratically elected president: his policies, which favour his party and group, will cause the dissolution of his legitimacy,” read the statement.
On Saturday, despite continued protests against Morsi’s recent constitutional decree, which protects the Constituent Assembly from legal challenge, the president announced that the draft constitution would be put before a nationwide referendum in two week’s time.
The statement was signed by eighteen political parties and groups, including the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Free Egyptians Party, the National Front for Justice and Democracy, the 6 April youth movement, the Democratic Front and the Kefaya movement.
Anti-Morsi forces have threatened for several days to march on the presidential palace in Heliopolis if constitutional declaration was not withdrawn.
Veteran journalist Abdel-Halim Qandil, a fierce critic of the president, and the Mubarak regime before the revolution, has called in a tweet “on the judges, workers, and underground metro drivers to strike and to march on the presidential palace” to defeat the president’s decrees.
Many judges, who are on strike against the decree, have already threatened not to monitor the referendum if the president did not rescind his decisions.
Meanwhile, shortly after the president finished his speech on Saturday night calling for a vote on the draft constitution, Mohamed El-Beltagy, the Muslim Brotherhood main operative in the Constituent Assembly, called on the opponents of the draft to fight it – if they disagreed with it – by mobilising a NO vote not to protest.
El-Beltagy, a leading member also in the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, told Ahram Online that if the opposition defeats the draft at the referendum set for 15 December, a new Constituent Assembly will be chosen via direct elections.