News / Middle East

Officials Push for High Turnout on Final Day of Egypt Referendum

A woman casts her ballot in the final stage of a referendum on Egypt's new constitution in Cairo, Jan. 15, 2014.
A woman casts her ballot in the final stage of a referendum on Egypt's new constitution in Cairo, Jan. 15, 2014.
Edward Yeranian
Egyptian officials are pushing for a high turnout on the final day of a two-day constitutional referendum, in a bid to demonstrate popular support for the interim government.  Unofficial tallies of early turnout, according to several Arab satellite channels, were around 50 percent of eligible voters in Egypt's two largest cities and less elsewhere.

Horn-honking vehicles covered with posters urging Egyptians to “vote yes” in the constitutional referendum paraded through the streets of the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.  Supporters of the interim government are making a concerted push to get voters to turn out.

Unofficial tallies for the first day of voting Tuesday, according to Sky News Arabia, were a 46 percent turnout in Egypt's largest cities of Cairo and Alexandria. Elsewhere, the TV channel said 50 percent turned out in Damietta, 40 percent in Sharqiya, and 35 percent each in Assiut, Gharbiya and Ismailiya. Turnouts were lower in Muslim Brotherhood strongholds of Luxor and the North Sinai.

Egyptian state TV and popular pro-government satellite channels played commercials showing Egyptians saying they were going to vote “yes” in the referendum. Most satellite channels which supported the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group are now off the air, but Al Jazeera Direct claimed that “voter turnout was low.”  The Brotherhood and some other parties had urged a boycott.

Fairly long lines of voters could be seen at many Cairo polling stations Tuesday, and Arab TV channels showed women ululating to celebrate.  A lighter turnout was visible Wednesday.  

  • People line up to vote in the Egypt's constitutional referendum in Cairo, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • A voter inks her finger after casting her ballot in a two-day constitutional referendum in Cairo, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Election workers and ballot boxes are seen inside a polling station during a referendum on the new constitution in Cairo, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Egyptians women show their inked fingers after casting their votes at a polling station in Cairo, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • Members of the Egyptian Interior Minister's security detail stand guard as voters line up at a polling station on the first day of voting in the country's constitutional referendum in the Zamalek neighborhood in Cairo, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • A woman holds a child as she casts her vote in the country's constitutional referendum in Hawamdaya, south of Cairo, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • Coptic Pope Tawadros II shows his ink-stained finger after voting in the country's constitutional referendum at a polling station in Cairo, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • A soldier stands behind a protective barrier of sand bags outside a polling station in Cairo, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • Supporters of the Egyptian Army and Army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi hold posters and shout slogans in front of a damaged building of a court complex after an explosion in Imbaba, north of Cairo, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • A view of the front of a damaged building of a court complex after an explosion in Imbaba, north of Cairo, Jan. 14, 2014.

Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi told a news conference that more women turned out to vote than men. Egypt has 52 million eligible voters out of a population of nearly 90 million.  Beblawi said he was pleased by the turnout.

He said the percentage of women and older voters was quite high on the first day and initial tallies show 55 percent of women voters turning out and 45 percent of men.  He asserted the turnout shows Egyptians want to take the destiny of their nation into their own hands and to demonstrate that to the world.

The vote is part of a political transition plan announced after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.  If approved, the constitutional referendum would be followed by elections for a new president and parliament.

Police and soldiers are deployed across the country to boost security, but close to a dozen people were killed during polling Tuesday in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi.

The new constitution would replace the charter adopted in 2012 under Morsi's presidency, stripping away Islamist language, giving women greater rights and strengthening the power of the military.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
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 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 With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
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 Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
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.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

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