News / Middle East

Egyptians Overseas Start Voting on Draft Constitution

Early Voting Begins for Egyptians Abroadi
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Jeff Swicord
December 13, 2012 9:15 PM
After weeks of protests across Egypt for and against a draft constitution backed by President Mohamed Morsi, early voting on the constitutional referendum has begun for Egyptians living abroad at 150 embassies worldwide. Jeff Swicord reports from Washington.
Watch related videoby Jeff Swicord
VOA News
Egyptian citizens living overseas have started voting on the country's new constitution, written primarily by Islamists and denounced by liberals and secularists.
 
Voting inside Egypt begins Saturday. The opposition has been trying to force a delay.
 
Many secular Egyptians fear the constitution will erode civil liberties because it boosts the role of Islamic law and does not mention women's rights.

Islamic lawmakers approved the document last month after liberal and Christian members walked out, complaining they were being ignored. 

  • An army soldier guards his tank in front the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 12, 2012.
  • Children play around protest camp tents in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, December 12, 2012.
  • Army tanks, left, deploy as Egyptian protesters gather outside the presidential palace during a demonstration against President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • Protesters chant anti-government slogans in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • Protesters gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • Anti-Morsi protesters shout slogans as they stand on top of a wall in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • People clash with anti-Morsi protesters, after the protesters blocked the gate of a government building near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • Anti-Morsi protesters sit outside their tents, below a flag that reads, "No, to Constitution," Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, December 10, 2012.
  • Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2012.
  • Protesters push army soldiers standing guard in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2012.
  • Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2012.
  • Soldiers stand guard on top of a tank in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2012.

Concluding his visit to Egypt Wednesday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights Michael Posner says the United States and many Egyptians themselves are greatly concerned about what is in the constitution.

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
Posner says Washington believes the constitution needs to represent all Egyptians based on the universal principles of human rights. He also says many Egyptian journalists told him they are nervous about the future. He says it is critical for reporters to be able to work in Egypt without harassment.
 
The Egyptian army says unity talks between Islamist-backed President Mohamed Morsi and the opposition, which were to have been held Wednesday, were postponed. No new date was set.
 
Egypt's top general Abdel Fattah al-Sissi had tried to help resolve the country's political crisis by attempting to host the talks. The two political sides are sharply divided over the draft constitution.

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

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
December 12, 2012 9:47 PM
the argument made by Muslim brotherhood. let people vote and majority decision has to be respected. This is a fallacy arguments. because the voting process is fraud majority of Egyptian are illiterate. this means ,they do not read the content of the new law. how they can made decision to approve that law without been able to read it .How they vote yes for a law that marked of stoning women. cut the hand and discriminate against women . the second reason of voting process is fraud. is the Muslim brotherhood will collect the illiterate like collecting sheep and let them vote yes. This is the pattern of behavior of Muslim brotherhood which is marked by deception and liar. and if these two strategies failed, then they are going to use violent

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