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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora