Hannes Swoboda in Egypt: "Constitutional referendum is only the first step towards democracy"

Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 00:00

After its visit to Tunisia the President of S&D Group accompanied by the Secretary General of the GPF, Javier Moreno Sánchez paid a visit to Egypt, going to the field to show support to the Progressive forces in the country.


In four weeks Egypt will hold a national referendum on its newly drafted constitution, ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections. The new constitution will replace the current regime and president, installed by the military after massive protests against the former president, Mohammed Morsi, and his government.



Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, visited Cairo this week and met with Amr Moussa, president of the 'constitutional committee', as well as with the government, political parties and civil society representatives.


After the meetings, S&D president Hannes Swoboda, said:


"The constitutional referendum on 14 and 15 January 2014 will be a test of Egypt’s democratic progress. I am pleased that the majority of political players support the draft constitution and I encourage the Egyptian people to participate in this referendum, whichever way they choose to vote. To boycott the referendum, as the Muslim Brotherhood currently plan to do, will not help democratic progress in Egypt. 


"The current draft constitution has many positive elements, including provisions on fundamental rights and the inclusion of minorities and marginalised groups. With the electoral law still incomplete, I urge the Egyptian president to maintain this spirit through the use of proportional party lists in the parliamentary elections - as opposed to individual candidates who would require substantial funding and would risk reducing the representation of women and religious and other minorities. Only an adequate proportion of party lists can help build national party structures.


"The upcoming referendum and elections must not distract from the very pressing problems facing Egypt: the recently adopted protest law allows inhumane repression. Recent prison sentences of up to 17 years for peaceful protests do not comply with basic human rights and will prevent inclusion and reconciliation, which are crucial for Egypt's future."


National Salvation Front with Mr Amr Moussa

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