Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Air Algérie crash site located, France sending military unit

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

middle east - do not use

Egyptians back constitutional reform

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-03-21

According to final results announced Sunday, 77% of Egyptians who took part in a referendum on constitutional amendments allowing greater civil liberties backed the proposed changes, paving the way for elections.

AP - Egyptian voters overwhelmingly approved changes in the constitution, opening the way for parliamentary and presidential elections within months, according to final results from a landmark referendum announced Sunday.
 
Opponents fear the swift timetable could boost the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood and members of the former ruling party.
 
The Brotherhood had campaigned heavily for a “yes” vote in the referendum. Critics say that since it and the former ruling party are the best organized political forces in the country, they stand to gain the most in an early election - which will bring in Egypt’s first democratically elected government to replace the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
 

The results are likely to open a frenzied campaign season, with liberal pro-democracy forces scrambling to put together political parties to contest the upcoming races.

 
The parliamentary and presidential elections are key because the next legislature and government are to lead the process of wider change, including likely drawing up a new constitution.
 
Many of those who led the wave of popular protests that ousted Mubarak on Feb. 11 want a radically new document that would break the total hold that the presidency held over government during Mubarak’s rule. They worry that the Brotherhood or former ruling party could dominate the process.
 
In an interview with daily El-Shorouk, a top member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said that the council will issue “a constitutional declaration” right after the announcement of the final vote to lay down next steps, with approval leading to a timetable for parliament and presidential elections.
 
Elections commission chief Ahmed Attiya said 41 percent of 45 million eligible voters cast ballots in Saturday’s referendum. More than 14 million - 77.2 percent -  voted in favor, with around 4 million - 22.8 percent - opposed.
 
Millions of Egyptians waited for hours Saturday to cast their first free ballots in half a century on the package of constitutional changes. The first test of Egypt’s transition to democracy also offered ominous hints of widening sectarian division.
 
Many were drawn to the polls in a massive, last-minute effort by the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Among those most fearful of the Brotherhood’s rising power were Egypt’s estimated 8 million Coptic Christians, whose leaders rallied the faithful to vote “no.”
 
Reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei and a group of his supporters were pelted with rocks, bottles and cans outside a polling center at Cairo’s Mokattam district in an attack he blamed on followers of the old regime.
 
The day was otherwise almost entirely peaceful.
 
Hundreds of Egyptians formed lines outside polling centers before they opened. They snaked along the streets in Cairo and other cities, with men and women standing in separate lines as is customary in the conservative and mainly Muslim nation.
 
Saturday’s vote was by far the freest since the military seized power in a 1952 coup, toppling the monarchy and ending decades of a multiparty system that functioned while Britain was Egypt’s colonial master. Only men with military backgrounds have ruled Egypt since.
 
While Mubarak’s overthrow has left Egyptians euphoric about their newfound freedoms, many are also worried about the social tensions and instability that could spiral in the wake of the autocratic leader’s departure.
 
Christian-Muslim clashes this month left at least 13 killed and more than 100 wounded in the worst sectarian clashes in years. On Jan. 1, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing at least 22 worshippers and wounding scores. A few days later, a policeman shot dead an elderly Christian man on a train.
 
The Brotherhood, which has strongly campaigned for the adoption of the changes, advocates the installment of an Islamic government in Egypt. The ambivalence of its position on what role women and minority Christians play under their hoped-for Islamic government - like whether they could run for president or be judges - worry large segments of society.
 
The military, in a bid to get the vote out, has decreed that they would be allowed to cast ballots at any polling center in the country with their national ID cards the only required proof of identity. They were required to dip their index finger in ink after voting to prevent multiple balloting.

Date created : 2011-03-20

  • EGYPT

    Unprecedented numbers vote on constitutional reform

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Muslim Brotherhood urges support for constitutional changes

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Tahrir Square youths urge 'No' vote on constitution

    Read more

COMMENT(S)