Top News: Egypt’s National Salvation Front Calls for Protests Against Rigged Referendum

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For an interactive map of the first round results from the referendum on the constitution (in Arabic) click here. For unofficial results from Ahram Online, click here. For an unofficial breakdown by Egypt Independent, click here.


Egypt’s National Salvation Front calls for protests against rigged referendum
Egypt’s opposition umbrella group, the National Salvation Front, calls for mass protests to take place on Tuesday in objection to the "numerous violations" witnessed in Saturday’s referendum on the constitution. It denounced what it called "large scale fraud” in the first round of the constitution referendum on Saturday. The NSF rejected figures claiming a majority voted ‘Yes’ in first phase of the constitutional referendum, saying 66 pct voted ‘No.’ In a press conference held Sunday, the Front blames the Supreme Elections Commission (SEC), headed by Zaghloul El-Balshi, for the violations seen throughout the country. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Reuters, DNE, 12/17/2012]

Salafist El-Nour Party spokesman blames liberal forces, media and dissolved NDP for constitution fears
Yousry Hammad, official spokesman of the Salafist El-Nour Party, accused Sunday via his Facebook page the media and dissolved National Democratic Party of using all means to stop the forward momentum of Egypt. The official Salafist spokesman said "it is no surprise that people were misled by liberal forces as the law does not stop them." He further accused liberals of "promoting lies" and "underestimating the minds of the citizens." [Ahram Online, 12/16/2012]

FJP deputy: Brotherhood might arm youths to defend offices
If the Muslim Brotherhood had militias, “they would have defended themselves in front of the presidential palace and killed the other [protesters],” the vice president of the group’s political party said on privately owned Mehwar channel Sunday night. Freedom and Justice Party deputy Essam al-Erian told host Amr al-Liethy that for the first time, the Brotherhood is seriously considering arming its youth members to protect its offices. Erian directly addressed those he said wished to create chaos in Egypt, particularly foreigners, saying it “will never happen” even if they spent billions of dollars. [Egypt Independent, 12/16/2012]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s Al-Wafd Party march to protest attack on HQ | Ahram Online
Egypt referendum highlights divisions within society: ElBaradei | Ahram Online  


Egyptians have spoken their mind on constitution: Brotherhood’s party
"Egyptian people have spoken their mind" declares the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm on Sunday, who also release their own count ahead of official results of the first half of the referendum on the divisive constitution. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) statement details that 4,604,110 voted ‘Yes,’ in the first stage of the plebiscite, where 10 of the 27 governorates voted. The ‘No’ votes they say came to 3,539,994. The statement explains that the approval is largely driven by Egyptians’ urge to truly see a nation based on constitutional legitimacy and one that strives for stability. Furthermore, they assert, this process took place within an atmosphere of integrity and full transparency, under full judicial supervision and in the presence of international media and rights organisations. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 12/16/2012]

SEC investigates violations in Egypt’s constitution referendum
The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) announced Monday it will start investigating electoral violations registered during the first stage of the constitutional referendum which took place across ten governorates on Saturday. Judge Mohamed El-Tamboli, a member of SEC, told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that the commission’s hotline had received several complaints in addition to written ones submitted by various rights groups. [Ahram Online, 12/17/2012]

SCC: President’s office statement ‘slander’
The Supreme Constitutional Court has criticized a statement from the president’s office Friday, saying that the statement “slanders” the court. The statement, issued in English, was addressed to international media and was part of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for External Relations and International Cooperation’s efforts to explain the president’s recent decisions. In a statement released Monday, the court said, “The president assistant statement showed a deliberate insistence to continue on the road of abuse, insult and slandering of the Supreme Constitutional Court.” [Egypt Independent, 12/17/2012]

Prosecutors, security clash in front of High Court
Clashes have erupted in front of the High Court building in Cairo after security forces prevented prosecutors from entering the building. About 600 prosecutors are protesting to demand Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah’s dismissal in light of what they say are his attempts to influence prosecutors investigating the Ettehadiya Palace clashes earlier this month. Meanwhile, prosecutors in Assiut decided to suspend work Monday in order to increase pressure against Abdallah, who they say is interfering in the Public Prosecution’s affairs for political ends. [Egypt Independent, 12/17/2012]

Also of Interest:
No transparency over referendum supervision, experts say | DNE
Blogger charged with blasphemy released on bail | DNE
Prosecutor orders camera footage of presidential palace clashes reviewed | Egypt Independent
Egyptian expatriate voting draws to close | Ahram Online
Preacher sentenced to one year in jail for defaming actress | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online
Egypt court approves retrial of Mubarak-era media officials | Ahram Online
Polling stations close in several Egyptian governorates before 11pm deadline | Ahram Online
Constitution articles could be altered after voting lawsuit claims | DNE, Egypt Independent
Citing violations, Egyptian rights groups demand new charter poll | Ahram Online, DNE


Govt project aims to make wheat, corn, oil production self-sufficient
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has tasked the agriculture, irrigation, electricity and investment ministries to begin implementing a project the government hopes will reclaim and cultivate a million new acres of farmable land over four years. The project aims to reach self-sufficient production levels, Agriculture and Land Cultivation Minister Salah Mohamed Abdel Mome told the press Sunday, by building up wheat production by 25 percent, corn production by 15 percent, and oil production from 10 percent to 40 percent. Financing the project should have a low interest rate of 1 or 2 percent, he added. [Egypt Independent, 12/16/2012]

Investors postpone visits to Egypt due to political unrest
Business councils have been cancelling their meetings with foreign investors as a result of the political deadlock the country has found itself in and instability surrounding the Constitutional Declaration. An Ethiopian delegation pushed back its trip to Egypt to an undetermined date, as well as a conference it was scheduled to hold entitled, “rebuilding Sinai.” This came in addition to several Turkish and Qatari delegates temporarily cancelling their investments in the country, as part of a larger move by nearly all business associations to do the same. [DNE, 12/16/2012]


Islamist protesters deny head of High Constitutional Court entry to premises
Hundreds of Islamist protesters gathered outside the High Constitutional Court (HCC) have prevented the head of the court, Judge Maher El-Beheiry, from entering the premises Sunday afternoon. El-Beheiry contacted the police to report the incident but was still unable to enter the court. [Ahram Online, DNE, 12/16/2012]

Churches deny mobilizing against constitutional referendum
The Coptic Church has denied accusations by Freedom and Justice Party leaders that it mobilized its followers to vote against the draft constitution in the first round of the referendum, which took place on Saturday. A church source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the church would not drift into political battles, as it only acts as a spiritual leader for Copts, and that it would accept the results of the referendum. Andrea Zaky, vice president of the Anglican Communion, said his church too did not attempt to influence its followers. He pointed out that 44 percent voted against the draft constitution, according to unofficial results. [Egypt Independent, 12/16/2012]

Also of Interest:
Cabinet clashes’ families seeks justice on anniversary | DNE


Fearing Salafist rally, security forces surround Cairo police station
Central Security Forces and anti-riot police moved in to secure Dokki Square in Cairo’s Dokki district from planned protests by followers of Salafist preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail and a possible protest march on the Dokki Police Station. Security forces and armoured vehicles surrounded the police station and deployed in adjacent streets following rumours that Abu-Ismail’s supporters – known as ‘Hazemoun’ – were planning to march on the police station at 7pm local time. [Ahram Online, DNE, 12/16/2012]

Police need better arms, says minister of interior
Minister of Interior Ahmed Gamal Al-Din has suggested that police need to be better armed to respond to the current security environment. Al-Din made the comment in a meeting Saturday following the violent attack on Al-Wafd newspaper and party headquarters Saturday, in which its entrance was set alight causing damage to parked cars. [DNE, 12/17/2012]


Qatar crown prince: Egypt renaissance positive sign for Arab world
Qatar’s crown prince said Sunday that Egypt is one of the most important countries in the region, and that its renaissance is a positive development for Arab and Islamic nations. At a meeting of Arab intellectuals and journalists in Doha on Sunday, Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said his country does not interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs, and that Qatar would cooperate with any government Egyptians choose. He also said Qatar is willing to help the Egyptian people by investing in projects determined by their government. [Egypt Independent, 12/16/2012]

US advised Egypt to postpone IMF loan: Source
The US government has advised Egypt to request the delay of a proposed loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) until January after Egypt failed to fulfil its promise to the fund to raise sales taxes on certain consumer goods, a well-informed US source in Washington told Ahram Online. [Ahram Online, 12/17/2012]

Berlin warns Egypt is sliding to dictatorship
German Development Minister Dirk Niebel expressed concern on Monday that Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi was leading the country toward dictatorship. “There’s the danger that the dictatorial system of the deposed President Mubarak is simply resurrected with other people,” Niebel told the daily Berliner Zeitung. He said in light of the precarious political situations in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, instability in Egypt presented an enormous threat to the region’s security. [The Local, 12/17/2012]

Also of Interest:
Preliminary referendum results “a tragedy for Israel” | DNE
Egypt meets Syrian commission of inquiry | DNE
Ros-Lehtinen proposes conditioning foreign aid to Egypt | The Hill

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