Political powers in Egypt exchange their seats, despite their differences, and they use the same method to deal with constitution referendums, convincing people to vote “yes,” no matter the content of the constitution.
By reviewing the history of the past three referendums in Egypt we notice:
First: strategy of fear from a constitutional void, and the absence of alternative in case people voted no. Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) did not provide Egyptians with alternatives during the 2011 referendum, the Muslim Brotherhood did the same thing the 2012 referendum, and now the 50-member committee does not know what the situation would be in case people refused the constitution; people are scared of voting “no” because they do not know the consequences.
Second: a strategy of chaos and stability. The SCAF attracted yes votes in the referendum for the sake of stability, the MB had a famous line “with the constitution, life will move forward,” and the 50-member committee has said that voting with yes will lead Egypt to stability, adding that the MB will return if the constitution was refused.
Third: the strategy of using religion. The 2011 referendum became a battle over Sharia and the famous phrase “the election polls said yes to Islam,” the MB also turned the 2012 referendum to a battle between Islamists and secularists who, according to MB, wanted to blur the Islamist identity of Egypt, even the 50-member committee has made use of religion by what it called articles of identity; they also kept the MB articles as a response to Nour Party calls.
Fourth: the strategy of slandering one’s opponents. In 2011 they said that people who refused the constitution are against religion and with Mubarak regime, in 2012 the opponents are accused of wanting chaos, and in 2013 the opposition is accused of being pro-terrorism, belonging to the “fifth column” as well as being a MB sleeper cells.
Fifth: unknown advertising with a green color to drive people into voting yes. It is expensive advertising that has filled the streets of Egypt, and no one knows who finances it, this year it started before the constitution was finished.
Let the people choose without pressure or intimidation, tell the people the truth, do not be ashamed, do not hide the facts, do not try to manipulate Egyptians, let them practice their rights, and do not be arrogant about the results. Democracy is not only about elections and polls, you may follow the previous regimes if you made the same mistakes.
Opinions expressed are the responsibility of their authors, and do not reflect the editorial policy of The Cairo Post.