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Top Judges to Oversee Egypt Referendum
December 3, 2012

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Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council will oversee the national referendum on the country's new constitution.

Many people, including opposition leaders and the influential Judges' Club, had urged Egyptians to boycott the referendum, which will take place on December 15. The Judges' Club is an unofficial group but represents judges at lower levels all across the country.

The Supreme Judicial Council had been at odds with President Mohamed Morsi after his recent decree granting himself expansive powers, including immunity from judicial oversight. But the Council's most recent announcement means that the voting will go ahead and that judges are required to monitor. Government officials estimated that about 10,000 judges would be needed to facilitate voting across the country. Voting for Egyptian citizens living outside the country is scheduled to begin in a few days.

Meanwhile, the threat of civil disobedience looked to be widening, as media outlets threatened to suspend publishing or broadcasting for an entire day to protest against what many are calling a constitutional crisis. A major tourism council reported that a great many hotels and restaurants were considering a brief blackout as well.

Already, a large group of opposition leaders had planned for another massive rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square, site of the revolution against former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. At least 200,000 protesters gathered in the square last week in response to Morsi's decree.

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