Mahmoud Mekki announced his resignation on the very day that voting in a controversial referendum on the constitution is being completed. Mekki said he realizes his background as a judge did not suit his role as a politician
Mr. Mekki announced his resignation just a few hours before voting ends in the second round of a referendum on the draft constitution. The vote is widely expected to be in favor of the draft constitution. While President Morsi and his supporters claim the constitution will secure democracy, opponents claim that it incorporates Islamist ideology into the constitution and denies rights that those opposing Mubarak fought for.
Observers say that the timing of Mekki's resignation was meant to show that he does not want to be associated with the voting process or the results. Judges have been split on the referendum with some monitoring the voting while others have refused. Others think that the resignation is a sign that the draft constitution had already been approved. Under the new constitution, Morsi would not be required to have a vice-president. Mekki wrote on his Facebook page:
"I realized since taking the position that the nature of the political duties does not suit my professionalism as a judge, so I submitted my resignation on November 7. I will remain a volunteer soldier available for the interest of the nation at anytime." However, Mekki said that circumstances forced him to remain. Now, no doubt, circumstances have forced his resignation again!
Mekki, 58, is one of the highest profile judges in Egypt. Many suspect that Mekki was also miffed that President Morsi did not consult him before issuing the decree giving the president wide powers, including that his decisions not be subject to judicial review. Seven other leading Morsi advisers quit during the past month. Many complained that they had not been consulted concerning the president's moves.
Voting in the second stage of the referendum has gone relatively smoothly. There are a quarter of a million security personnel deployed throughout the country to keep order. In the first round, turnout was just around 30% and estimates are that about 56% approved the constitution. The constitution is expected to pass. If it does, parliamentary elections must take place within three months. Opposition activists claim there will be more unrest no matter what the results of the vote.