That doesn’t mean the process will be rigged, he added. But it does open the constitution to the perception that it will be tainted before it can be implemented.
“This is not a proper process,” Abaza said.
Despite that, the election commission says there are enough judges. Judge Zaqhlaul El Balshy, the commission’s secretary-general, said there would be 6,276 polling stations open Saturday and that there were enough judges for each, as 9,881 judges had agreed to participate.
El Balshy rejected claims that those judges who chose to participate are largely ones who support Morsi and the Brotherhood.
“It will be transparent,” El Balshy said. “Anyone who wants to monitor can monitor. The judges know they must be fair.”
So far, it appears that the army and police are the best prepared. They have plans to secure the polling stations.
The rushed nature of the referendum is the result of a long string of developments stretching back to Morsi’s declaration in November that his decisions were exempt from judicial oversight. The decree was intended to undercut an expected Supreme Constitutional Court ruling that the assembly that was writing a new constitution was illegally constituted.
Morsi had intended for the assembly to work another two months, but the decree sparked an outpouring of protest. Rather than risk an adverse court ruling, the constitutional assembly pushed itself to complete work on the 236-article document in an all-night session before the court could act. Morsi then set the referendum.
That only angered opponents more. Morsi said in a national address last week that if the constitution didn’t pass, he’d call for an election for a new assembly.
That pacified some opponents. But protests by those who support and oppose the constitution are set for Friday, and analysts predict that there will be more such demonstrations after the referendum’s results are known.