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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora