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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs