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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora