BEIRUT

Middle East

Mubarak wants to vote for Egypt's new constitution: lawyer

  • Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (R) shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon prior to their meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh, in this February 8, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

CAIRO: Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt with an iron fist for 30 years before he was ousted, has asked to vote in a constitutional referendum, his lawyer told Reuters on Tuesday.

Mubarak, who is facing a retrial for his role in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that unseated him, was released from prison in August and is at a Cairo military hospital.

Egyptians would have never dreamed of voting in any kind of fair election during Mubarak's era. Apart from an experiment with more open elections in 2005, polls were mostly described as a 99 percent victory for the former air force commander and his ruling party.

"He wants to vote," Mubarak's lawyer, Fareed El-Deeb, told Reuters in a phone conversation. "Of course it would be yes for the constitution."

Campaign material for the charter has billed the vote as the conclusion of the revolution that toppled Mubarak to try to engage all camps who took to the streets three years ago.

In reality, it will strengthen state institutions such as the military, the police and the judiciary that kept him in power and eradicate the influence of elected Islamists who succeeded him before they were ousted by the army in July.

It was not immediately clear whether Mubarak would get to vote. A spokesman for the Supreme Committee for Elections said it had not received any requests from Mubarak's lawyer.

A judicial source said there are no legal obstacles to Mubarak voting, but given the security restrictions around the hospital the logistics could be complicated.

The army, which deposed Islamist President Mohammad Morsi in July after mass protests against his rule, has promised that a political roadmap starting with the constitutional referendum will lead to free and fair elections for the presidency and parliament.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood accuses the army-backed government of trying to turn the clock back to the Mubarak era. Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted Morsi, is widely expected to run for president and win. He ran military intelligence under Mubarak.

Former leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi was prevented from voting in the referendum because authorities had registered him at a polling station in Saudi Arabia, his political movement, The Popular Current, said in a statement.

The mistake represented evidence that the voter databases needed revising, the statement quoted Sabahi as saying.

 
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