News / Middle East

Egypt Opposition Vows to Keep Fighting Constitution

Members of Egypt's opposition coalition stand listen to the Egyptian national anthem before a news conference in Cairo, December 23, 2012.
Members of Egypt's opposition coalition stand listen to the Egyptian national anthem before a news conference in Cairo, December 23, 2012.
VOA News
Egypt's liberal opposition coalition says it will keep fighting an Islamist-backed constitution despite its apparent approval in a two-stage referendum.

In a Cairo news conference Sunday, the National Salvation Front said it has asked electoral authorities to investigate irregularities in the referendum, which ended Saturday with voting in 17 of Egypt's 27 provinces.  Voting began in the other provinces on December 15.

The Muslim Brotherhood movement of President Mohamed Morsi says unofficial results show the constitution won approval from 64 percent of voters in the two rounds, with Saturday's "yes" vote being even higher at 71 percent.

The electoral commission could announce official results as early as Monday.

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
The opposition says the lack of judicial supervision of the referendum led to rigging and intimidation of voters by Islamists.  Many judges boycotted the process to protest President Morsi's recent attempts to put his decisions above the law.

Activists also say the constitution lacks a popular mandate, because only about one-third of the electorate voted on it.

National Salvation Front member Amr Hamzawy said the charter is not legitimate.

"It violates our basic rights, social and economic before civil and personal rights," said Hamzawy.  "It violates our interests and the popular interest in building a socially just society and a democratic system.  And we will continue to attempt to bring down the constitution peacefully and democratically."

Islamists said the referendum was fair and represents a crucial step in Egypt's transition to democracy, almost two years after a popular uprising ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

An Islamist-dominated assembly finalized the draft constitution last month after liberals and Christians walked out, complaining their views were being ignored.

Opposition groups fear the charter will erode civil liberties, because it increases the role of Islamic law in society and does not explicitly mention the rights of women or minorities.

Islamist and opposition groups had staged a series of mass protests for and against the constitution in recent weeks.  Some members of the rival groups engaged in violent street battles that killed eight people outside the presidential palace in Cairo.

If Egypt's electoral commission confirms the passage of the referendum, an election would be held for a new lower house of parliament in two months.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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: melvin polatnick from: brooklyn
December 23, 2012 12:02 PM
Only structures built on the foundation of Allah and the back of his trusted servant can withstand the eroding winds of secularism. The new Egyptian constitution will do away with dependence on the concrete and replace it with the spiritual as a more reliable foothold.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
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 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 US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
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.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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