News / Middle East

Egypt Approves Islamist-backed Constitution

An Egyptian woman cuts her hair during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.An Egyptian woman cuts her hair during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.
x
An Egyptian woman cuts her hair during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.
An Egyptian woman cuts her hair during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
Egypt's High Electoral Commission announced the final results of the two-stage constitutional referendum Tuesday, after a 24-hour delay to examine charges of fraud. Opposition leaders allege the vote was tainted by numerous irregularities, but the presiding judge says they were all investigated and some results thrown out for irregular procedures.

Few Egyptians appeared surprised by the official results of the constitutional referendum, which had been widely discussed since Sunday. Final results, however, were delayed by 24 hours while officials examined opposition charges of irregularities and fraud.

Electoral commission head Samir Abou al Ma'ati told a press conference that the new constitution won approval by close to two-thirds of those who voted.

Egypt's Draft Constitution

  • Limits president to two four-year terms
  • Provides protections against arbitrary detention and torture
  • Islamic law, or Sharia, serves as the basis for legislation
  • Religious freedom is limited to Muslims, Christians and Jews
  • Citizens are deemed equal before the law and equal in rights
He says that 63.8 percent of Egyptian voters approved the new constitution, and 36.2% opposed it.

Less than a third of Egypt's 52 million eligible voters cast ballots in the two-stage referendum, causing some analysts to question the validity of the results. Judge Ma'ati dismissed many charges of fraud, however, insisting that results from polling stations where irregularities took place were discarded.

Opposition leaders, however, argue that the new constitution is divisive and say they will work to overturn it. Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi says the document is not the product of a national consensus and must be replaced.

He insists that the opposition will use peaceful means to annul the constitution, which he says reflects division, rather than consensus.

The Egyptian public appears to be polarized between the secular, leftist and Christian opposition and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. The opposition insists that the referendum was tainted by fraud, while Islamists claim that irregularities were minor.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Defense Minister Abdelfattah el-Sisi told Egyptian TV that the Egyptian Army is the “guarantor” of the security of the nation and that it is not aligned with any political group. He added that the army would “not meddle in political quarrels.”

Loading timeline...
With the approval of the new constitution, Egypt's upper house of parliament will now be authorized to issue laws and tackle various problems, including the economy. A new lower house of parliament is due to be elected in two months.

The state of the economy, however, has many Egyptians worried. The central bank is running low on hard currency and a $4.8 billion loan by the World Bank was postponed due to the turmoil over the constitution. Ratings agency Standard and Poors downgraded Egypt from “B” to “B-” on Monday, to reflect growing anxiety over its economy.

 

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
December 25, 2012 8:04 PM
the country is divided. on the time of serious economic crisis ,the country should stand to solve the problem. it looks to me that Muslim brotherhood against the whole nation. If moersi survive that crisis, he will not solve other crisis . the people are in discontent and they find out what he said in the campaign is not what he did as presidents for four month. All what he said is broken promises, the country is suffering from food shortage and he did nothing

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More