News / Middle East

Egyptians Back New Constitution

Judge Nabil Salib, head of Egypt's High Election Commission, center, is greeted by fellow commissioners as he prepares to announce voting results of referendum on military-backed constitution, Cairo, Jan. 18, 2014.
Judge Nabil Salib, head of Egypt's High Election Commission, center, is greeted by fellow commissioners as he prepares to announce voting results of referendum on military-backed constitution, Cairo, Jan. 18, 2014.
Edward Yeranian
Authorities in Egypt say the country has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new military-backed constitution, written to replace a pro-Islamist charter drafted by allies of ousted former president Mohamed Morsi.
 
Official figures released Saturday in Cairo show a fairly low turnout of less than 40 percent of Egypt's 53 million eligible voters in the two-day poll. Morsi's supporters boycotted the vote and call the results forged.
 
A crowd applauded as Judge Nabil Salib, head of Egypt's High Election Commission, announced the voter statistics, calling the 38-percent turnout higher than the 2012 constitutional referendum in which Egyptians approved the charter presented by then-president Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
According to Salib, more than 98 percent of voters who did cast ballots in this weekend's poll — Egypt's first since the military toppled the country's first democratically-elected civilian president — resoundingly approved the new constitution.
 
Salib said less than 250,000 ballots were deemed invalid, and results showed 98.1 percent of valid ballots approved the new constitution, with 1.9 percent of ballots cast against it.
 
Said Sadek, who teaches political sociology at the American University in Cairo, noted the significance of the vote in Cairo to approve the constitution, including greater participation by women, many of whom stayed home during the 2012 referendum.
 
"In 2012, Cairo said 'no' to the constitution of Dr. Morsi. This year it said 'yes.' Also, there were more people coming voluntarily, whereas in 2012 mobilization was made by the Muslim Brotherhood with buses," he said.
 
Morsi's 2012 draft constitution, which was opposed by many who advocate secular Egyptian government, passed with 64 percent of the vote. Much of Egypt's judiciary refused to supervise the 2012 vote, which left Islamist judges in charge of most polling stations.
 
"Here, the media played a role [and the defense minister] General Abdel Fatah Sisi played a role," said Sadek. "Also, voter turnout [was] different: 55 percent women, while men are 45 percent. Why? Women have a sense of danger and feel they need to make sure that the Islamists are out."
 
Sadek said the overall turnout of 38.9 percent of the electorate was fairly consistent with international norms, since “presidential and parliamentary elections usually draw more voters than local elections or referendums.”
 
Sadek contends that most Egyptians who cast ballots this past week were not really approving the new constitution, but were voting in favor to restore stability after two years of turmoil.
 
"People voted not for the constitution," he said. "Only 5 percent read it, according to Basira polling center, so most likely people went to the polling stations and voted for stability. They voted for Sisi to be the new president. They voted against the Muslim Brotherhood, and if you look who voted, class-wise, it was basically the middle and upper classes."
 
Egyptian state television announced that interim President Adly Mansour will address the country within 24 to 48 hours to discuss the “road-map” to democracy announced by the military last July. He is widely expected to say that presidential elections will precede voting for a new parliament.
 
The this weekend's vote is key to legitimizing the country's military-backed transition plan after deposing the Islamist president Morsi following widespread unrest over his rule.
 
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
January 19, 2014 1:17 AM
Almost 99 percent voted yes for the new constitution! What a ridiculous sham! ..then "Superman" Abdel Fatah el Sisi must be, of course, the sole presidential candidate for the country!
This is "Democracy" new Egyptian style.

by: Rob from: Canada
January 18, 2014 10:56 PM
How do people consider this a democracy? You don't elect someone, throw them in jail, then try and steal the presidency from them, even though Morsi had ties to a "terrorist" organization, it doesn't give the military the right to intervene and decide that they will run the country. Morsi did whatever it took to get the people out to vote for him, then they threw him in jail and are trying to get him executed for citing freedom.
In Response

by: Nader from: Egypt
January 19, 2014 3:05 PM
Rob ,
Do you know that Morsi had contacted with Al-QAEDA leader Ayman El-zawahry and cooperated with him for a lot of scandals and plans for destroying Egypt !!,,, " recorded calls " was intercepted between the both was talking about training Jihadasts inside the Army !! , Do you know this calls confirm Morsi involvement in killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai ?!!

Many calls had been tracked between Morsi and Ayman El-zawhry !!!
Please don't judge before you know the full truth ?

by: Robert from: UK
January 18, 2014 7:36 PM
Egyptian "constitution"...LOL Oh God what a joke... do you think it as good as Egyptian "beer"...??? LOL

by: Anonymous
January 18, 2014 7:16 PM
It's funny to hear these stupid people trying to interpret this "vote" if it could even be called that, due to the bullying of Sisi and threats to anyone who might have potentially voted no, as a sign of stability and peace. Only a small fraction of the population even voted, and those that did vote did so while standing next to Sisi's thugs posted at the booths. Egypt is just moving on from one dictator (Mubarak, not Morsi) to the next.
In Response

by: Nader from: Egypt
January 19, 2014 8:35 AM
We voted with our will to close Muslim Brotherhood page for ever ,
Muslim Brotherhood group are terrorists killing , burn churches .
Voting percentage rate 30-40 % , about 20 Million voters voted with YES ..
You are defending terrorist group ......
In Response

by: Sam
January 18, 2014 11:15 PM
Morsi tried to be a dictator but failed.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More