Egypt’s Salafi Nour Party Plans to Back Constitution in Vote

Egypt’s Islamist Salafi Nour Party said it would back a new constitution in a referendum that is key to the military-supported government’s efforts to push ahead with its political transition plans.

“We call on the Egyptian people to vote ‘yes’ to spare the country more anarchy and to protect our beloved Egypt and great people,” Younes Makhyoun, the head of the party, which supported the military’s July ouster of President Mohamed Mursi, said in a televised news conference.

A panel dominated by secularists approved a final draft of the new constitution earlier this week. Supporters say the new charter entrenches civil liberties, while critics say it empowers the military at the expense of elected civilians.

“The importance of the presence of Nour party is not in the number of people they can mobilize,” Ziad Akl, a senior researcher at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, said by phone. As an Islamist group, their support for the charter is a “symbolic blow” to the Muslim Brotherhood, he said.

The National Coalition for Legitimacy, which includes the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, described the charter as a “black and void document,” according to an e-mailed statement.

The coalition supporting Mursi, which has been organizing protests against his ouster, vows to reverse what it says is the coup that pushed him out and refuses to recognize the interim government’s “road map” for transition.

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