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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid