News / Africa

Egyptian Rights Groups Ask for Referendum 'Restage'

A protester looks at graffiti on cement blocks in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 16, 2012.
A protester looks at graffiti on cement blocks in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 16, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
Tentative results from Saturday's first round of voting in Egypt's constitutional referendum are showing a narrow lead for supporters of the document.  Opposition and civil society groups allege vote fraud, while the head of Egypt's electoral commission denied those charges.

Egyptian media and rival political groups are reporting that around 56.5 percent of voters approved the country's controversial new constitution in the first round of polling Saturday. Initial results also indicate that about one-third of 26 million eligible voters cast their ballots.

Voting, however, was marred by various irregularities and violations, according to witnesses. Civil society groups are urging the government to repeat the first round because of alleged fraud.

Opposition leader Sameh Ashour charged, in a press conference, that many of those allowed to supervise polling stations were not judges. A large portion of Egypt's judiciary boycotted the referendum, and a top judicial body, the Judges' Club, he claims, observed many non-judges overseeing the vote.

Related: VOA's Al Pessin talked with Egyptians as they cast their ballots

Ashour says it should be ample evidence that the Judges' Club, which is boycotting the referendum, determined there were 120 individuals falsely impersonating judges and allowed to supervise polling stations and vote counting.

Baha'eddin Hassan of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights told reporters that a variety of violations and fraud took place during Saturday's voting.

He says the numerous irregularities included preventing civil society groups from observing the vote, allowing members of the Muslim Brotherhood to enter polling stations, and allowing "pseudo-judges" to resort to violence and thuggery and terrorize voters.

Despite the charges, the judge who heads Egypt's High Electoral Commission, Zaghloul al-Balshi, insisted that the vote was impartial and fair.

He says the High Electoral Commission received various allegations which are creating a tempest among voters.  He says, however, that the charges are not true.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party argue that a “yes” vote for the new constitution will foster stability in the country and help Egypt move forward with its transition. Opponents say the document will create instability.

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
Opposition leaders claim that the draft constitution is deliberately vague and could lead to an theocracy, where Islamic clerics vet laws and legislate morality. They warn that the document does not protect women's rights and allows the president to pack the Supreme Court.

Sayyid Bedawi, of the opposition Wafd Party, warned that secular Egyptians would continue their peaceful protests against the document.

He says the Islamists want a civil war, but that neither the opposition, nor the Egyptian people will allow them to do that.  He charges that Islamists want to cheat with the referendum, but they won't get away with it, and the crisis won't go away.

Bedawi's Wafd Party offices in Giza were attacked and set on fire Saturday.  The opposition blamed members of an extremist Salafi faction.

A final round of the two-stage referendum will take place next Saturday in 17 remaining Egyptian provinces.  About 26 million people are on the voting roles for the second round - the same number eligible in the first round which covered 10 provinces including the capital, Cairo.

You May Like

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Floyd Mills from: Boulder Colorado USA
December 17, 2012 1:06 AM
To adopt a constitution the Egyptians should require the approval of at least a 2/3rds majority of the population. How can you subjugate 49% of a population and make them live under a system that the do not approve of. A constitution should be tailored to accommodate all of a countries people...or as close to that as is humanly possible. Certainly that is not what is happening in this constitutional election.

by: L Syed from: Cairo
December 16, 2012 12:51 PM
I think opposition should accept result and move forward to the General Election. If they claims they have popularity, they can win election and amend this constitution, whatever article they want. Reapeting is no end and if they win other party can also request and protest for repeat. There is not end of re-stage and there is no set rule in this case of re-stage accept allegation

by: Ela from: Cairo, Egypt
December 16, 2012 11:44 AM
Funny that the coalition will not accept any unofficial results while simultaneously releasing their own unofficial results. Their behavior is a repeat of Ahmed Shafiq's attempt to cast doubt on the Muslim Brotherhood's numbers for Morsi's victory over Shafiq in the presidential elections.
In Response

by: abdel nasser from: egypt
December 16, 2012 2:35 PM
abdel nasser said the true .you are liers and bunch of sheep

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs