News / Africa

    Morsi Urges Egyptian Opposition to Engage After Constitution Enacted

    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi signs a decree to put into effect the new constitution in Cairo December 25, 2012, in this handout photo released by Egyptian Presidency office.
    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi signs a decree to put into effect the new constitution in Cairo December 25, 2012, in this handout photo released by Egyptian Presidency office.
    Edward Yeranian
    In an address on national TV Wednesday, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi congratulated Egyptians for voting to approve a new constitution and urged them to unite and work toward a better future. The address came one day after he signed the controversial new constitution into law.

    Morsi says that by approving the constitution, Egypt was moving from its “First Republic,” to a new “Second Republic.” Without mentioning the outcry and protests over how the constitution was passed, Morsi thanked those who participated in what he called a free and fair referendum.

    He said the Egyptian people chose to approve the constitution by free will and under conditions of transparency, complete judicial supervision, and protection by the army.

    Opposition charges

    Opposition leaders claim that the vote was tainted by numerous irregularities and fraud. Egypt's electoral commission, however, dismissed most of those charges Tuesday.

    Developments in Egypt

    • Nov. 22: Presidential decree gives Mohamed Morsi sweeping powers, protests erupt
    • Nov. 30: Islamist-controlled assembly adopts draft constitution
    • Dec. 1: Constitution referendum scheduled for December 15
    • Dec. 2: Judges say they will boycott constitution referendum
    • Dec. 5: Protesters clash outside presidential palace in Cairo
    • Dec. 8: Morsi annuls presidential decree
    • Dec. 10: Morsi gives military authority to arrest civilians
    • Dec. 15/22: Egyptians vote on constitutional referendum
    Morsi said he has no “desire to cling to power” and that legislative authority has now been transferred to the Shoura Council, the upper house of the Egyptian parliament. Morsi said he has made mistakes, but that his decisions were “made before God and in the interests of the nation.”

    The president said Egypt is facing serious economic difficulties and called on his countrymen to “work hard and increase production.” He repeated a call for national dialogue.

    The Shoura Council met Wednesday to consider various pieces of legislation after the new constitution gave it legislative power, pending the election of a new lower house in two months.  Among that legislation is a bill restricting financial dealings.

    Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mohamed Mahsoub told the council that the bill should be approved quickly to prevent the flight of capital and speculation:

    He said urgent legislation is needed to fight corruption and recover stolen money, along with a law to prevent speculation and stop those trying to sabotage state companies.
     
    Economy falters

    Egypt's council of ministers met Wednesday to discuss the economic crisis facing the country. The new constitution did little to resolve that crisis, say many analysts, but appeared instead to intensify it.

    Said Sadek, who teaches political sociology at the American University in Cairo, said that Egypt's political opposition appears to have decided not to mount major protests over the constitution and will instead wait for the economic crisis to fuel further protests:

    “The battle of the constitution is over, but other battles are coming. A lot of people from the revolution opposition believe that the government has mishandled the political situation and when those who voted for this constitution realize that what they got is more taxation and more economic hardship, you'll have a bigger pool of opposition,” said Sadek.

    A $4.8-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund was delayed amid Egypt's ongoing political crisis.

    Ratings agency Standard and Poor's downgraded the country's long-term credit rating on Monday. Ahram Online reported that Egypt is now preventing travelers from taking more than $10,000 out of the country.

    • An Egyptian woman casts her ballot in Giza, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (Yuli Weeks for VOA).
    • Voters stain their fingers with ink after voting to prevent repeat voting , Cairo, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (Yuli Weeks for VOA).
    • Many of the voters in Giza said they would vote no on the draft constitution, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (Yuli Weeks for VOA).
    • Women wait to vote in Egypt's constitutional referendum outside of a polling station in Giza, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (Yuli Weeks for VOA).
    • Egypt's army is overseeing the referendum vote, Cairo, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (Yuli Weeks for VOA).
    • The ballot Egyptian voters used in the constitutional referendum. The red circle (left) is a no vote. And the blue circle (right) is a yes vote, Cairo, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (Yuli Weeks for VOA).
    • Today marks the second round of voting in Egypt's constitutional referendum, Cairo, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (Yuli Weeks for VOA).

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Huzaidi Hashim from: Malaysia
    December 26, 2012 9:02 PM
    I agree with Adam Smith because his comments are based on his readings of both the old and the new constitutions including the comparison between the two

    http://www.voanews.com/content/egypt-constitution/1572169.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Unsubstantiated comments have no bearing and will serve no purpose for the readers on even for themselves

    by: Dave Cox from: Birmingham
    December 26, 2012 5:02 PM
    The Egyptians have swapped one form of dictatorship for another ! Adam Smith needs to swap his biased view for Reality !

    by: Ruffo1 from: Maryland
    December 26, 2012 4:44 PM
    Engage??
    Since your constitution is now based on the Koran all non-muslims become infidels and have to pay the muslims a jis'ia or pol tax yearly by debasing themselves in a public forum and according to their wealth as determined by this muslim jiz'ia tax collector. Jews are literally APES, Christians are literally PIGS. These infidels have absolutely NO court rights against a muslim. According to tradition a jihad can be declared against them and en-masse they can be attacked, beaten, killed, raped, robbed, their children stolen and they can do nothing about it. And folks...this crap is the truth and goes on and on. READ YOUR HISTORY!

    by: limpindrummer@yahoo.com
    December 26, 2012 4:39 PM
    How do Egyptians look forward to a better future when their government has just taken a giant step back to the Middle Ages creating, yet, another islamic theocracy?

    by: Anonymous
    December 26, 2012 9:58 AM
    More rational, secular elements have come out against the constitution. If this constitution, as the article mentions, also "ignores the rights of women" this is also a problem. However, it seems like the U.S. as a whole (including our government, see the Department of State referendum on the issue) are still overly optimistic regarding the transformation of Egypt. I have been saying this since the Arab Spring began: we should not be so sure that Egypt being run by an Islamist government is necessarily in our best interests, or the best interests of the Egyptian people themselves.
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    December 26, 2012 2:26 PM
    Mr. Smith. they said a little knowledge is very dangerous. this is the case to you. Egyptian understand Muslim brotherhood and they that they are moving like snake slowly and eventually they kill for their cause. the election for electing moersi is fraud. the purge of military was the initial step to grip the power. and constitution is other step to grip the power and establish Islamic state
    In Response

    by: Adam Smith from: MI
    December 26, 2012 12:21 PM
    The Egyptians have in their long history conducted their first free and fair democratically elected Presidential and Constitutional elections. The idea that they would get everything correct in the first step of the process is pure nonsense. The fact that the Egyptians chose to go with Islamic law instead of a legal system of their former colonial powers should not be a surprise. The Egyptians and people of the Middle East will have to work on a democratic system that they want and need. The US, Canada, UK, France and German do not have the same legal system or constitution why would we expect Egypt to be any different.

    The only thing I see in reading the posts is the fact that some of the readers lament that Egypt is no longer a servant state to western interests. The fact that the Egyptian people have suffered under harsh dictatorships did not seem to matter to the west as long as that dictator did the wests bidding. For the comments that will come about US aid to Egypt, the US gives money to Egypt to protect US interest in the area. So keep your crocodile tears for the people of Egypt to yourself and let them work out their future for themselves.

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    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 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 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.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora