One of the most persistent talking points by SCAF recently is that the people chose them to lead during the transitional period, and that the Referendum was really about giving the Armed Forces “the revolutionary legitimacy to lead” us. Now, as you all know, My view on the referendum has been that what’s done is done, and that people chose, and that we need to move on and focus on the election, because we shouldn’t take away from the people the experience of having their voice heard for the first time, even if that’s not true. Unfortunately, due to this persistent talking point, which is always followed by an accusation that the revolutionaries are trying to subvert Democracy by demanding a new constitution or a Bill of Rights first, I find myself unable to keep silent any longer. Fine, you want to talk about the referendum? Fine by me. Let’s go over this!
Now, mind you, this post won’t cover the usual whining of not having enough time for the No campaign, or how the MB told the people that if they vote yes they will go to Heaven, or how the army itself influenced the vote by telling the people that a Yes vote is the best way to move forward, while declining to give us a real choice as to what they will do if people voted NO, making the alternative seem mysterious and dangerous. None of that. I won’t even discuss this report that alleges, due to statistical fraud analysis that the referendum results were tampered with, and that blatant fraud took place. Instead, I would like to go over some facts with you, and let you decide for yourself.
1) The Referendum was proposed as an amendment of 8 articles to the 1971 constitution, thus bringing the constitution back to life temporarily until we create a new one. The voices opposed to this was that the 1971 constitution gave unchecked powers to the President, and we should have a temporary constitutional declaration until the election of a national committee to write the new constitution (which was one of the original demands of the Jan 25 revolution, alongside with a Civil Presidential Council, which the SCAF promised back then they would fulfill). We were soundly ignored, and the referendum took place, and the Yes vote won, thus technically & legitimately resurrecting the 1971 constitution.
2) The 1971 constitution clearly states that in the event there is no President and no head of Parliament, then the head of the Egyptian Supreme constitutional court would have to be the next President temporarily for 60 days, until new presidential elections are held. There is nothing in the 1971 constitution that gives the SCAF any mandate to legitimately rule us.
3) Upon realizing that, the SCAF instead killed the resurrection of the 1971 constitution without informing us ( which would render the referendum constitutionally illegitimate, since it was done based on false pretenses), and instead announced that those articles we voted on will be part of a temporary constitutional declaration (oh yeah! That’s why we- No People- were gloating at the Yes people in case you were wondering), and then added 55 articles giving themselves the power of the President to rule unchecked and the Parliament to issue laws, and thus the modern SCAF was born.
4) Needless to say, those voters in the referendum didn’t vote to give SCAF absolute and unchecked power, and didn’t vote for the 55 articles they gave us as a bonus on top of the 8 we actually voted on, which also makes the temporary constitutional declaration and the Powers it gave SCAF constitutionally illegitimate as well. That’s two reasons why the referendum and thus resulting rule of SCAF are constitutionally illegitimate for those of you who are still counting.
5) But even if one ignored the first two reasons why this referendum can not be used to justify all the shit that’s been happening for the past 4 months, or if you didn’t care and would have voted to give SCAF the mandate to rule out of trust anyway, well, there is the little problem of how they did alter the text of the very few articles that you actually voted on when they issued the constitutional declaration. Don’t believe me? LOOK AT THIS!
Yep, even the 8 you actually voted on were tempered with. That’s Three reasons why this referendum and the resulting temporary constitutional declaration and the Rule of SCAF are constitutionally illegitimate. And in case you still don’t get it: That’s three times you were made a fool of. That’s three times your democratic will was actually subverted by the SCAF, the people you trust most, in order to ensure that the power in the country isn’t in civilian hands and instead is in theirs.
“But wait”, you will say,”forget all that. You are no better. You don’t want me to choose my constitution via parliament. You want to subvert democracy, create a national committee to write a constitution to your liking, and impose your ideas on me and my way of life, just like SCAF did. Right?” Well, no, not really.
Voting for Parliament that will vote for a committee that will write the constitution is a novel idea, but there are two problems with it: 1) The supreme majority of , if not all, the people voted into Parliament are not qualified to write a constitution. It’s kind of like having to create a nuclear reactor, but instead of sending your nuclear-physicists, you send you in your cousin who you trust to be good and honest. Great intentions, Most-likely catastrophic results; and 2) Requiring a 50+1 majority to pick the committee means lots of political haggling will take place, which means that our rights will be up for barter based on a group’s beliefs or political interests. Such political haggling is fine when it comes to laws, because laws can be changed easily, but this constitution is staying for a long long time. So, in essence, you will vote in people that are probably unqualified, and who will follow their own personal beliefs instead of yours, and have them barter over voting for a group of people who will then write your constitutional rights, instead of having a list of qualified experts (let’s say law or human rights experts), which you would vote for directly, who then would write the constitution, which is what the vote for the national committee is. The vote for a national committee means that You get to directly choose who writes your constitution, knowing full well that they are qualified for it. How that is subverting your vote, or an abortion of democracy, I have no clue.
Now I am neither calling for you to overthrow SCAF or call for a National Committee for a constitution, or even support us, the revolutionaries. God knows I am gearing up for the election season and will fight on every front I can to ensure that by hook or crook our rights are secured either way. As I stated, this an attempt to counter a talking point that is both false and used as justification for things like military trials and forced “virginity checks”. I am simply reminding you that there are many people who want to take away rights from you or fool you, but we are not one of them. We are disorganized, arrogant, drained, angry, unable to communicate our message clearly and you might not even like the way some of us look like, but we are not liars. Deal with that.