Egypt awaits results on key post-Morsi vote

2014-01-16 15:43
Image grab from Egyptian state TV. (Filer, AFP)

Image grab from Egyptian state TV. (Filer, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Egypt awaited on Thursday results of a referendum on a new constitution that could launch a presidential bid by the army chief, with initial tallies indicating overwhelming support for the charter.

Given a boycott by the Islamist opposition, the result has never been in doubt, but the military-installed government is hoping for a large turnout to bolster its democratic credentials after the overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi.

State media suggested at least 90% of those voting had supported the new charter, which the authorities say provides greater freedom of speech and protection of women's rights.

"The people say 'Yes,'" said a front-page headline in Al-Akhbar, while Al-Ahram reported that 90% of voters had backed the charter.

After two days of voting that were marred by sporadic and deadly clashes between Morsi's Islamist supporters and police, polling ended at 21:00 on Wednesday.

Final results are expected within 72 hours from then.

Officials have said army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled the Islamist Morsi in July, will closely monitor turnout as he mulls going for the top job himself in an election promised for later this year.

Sisi has said he is prepared to run if there is enough popular support, and the referendum is seen as providing the first concrete test.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, now designated a terrorist group, had hoped a low turnout would send a message of discontent over Morsi's overthrow and a brutal crackdown on his supporters.

Heroic battle

The military's spokesperson thanked the "masses" of voters for taking part in what he called the "heroic battle of the referendum".

On Tuesday, clashes between Morsi supporters and their opponents and police killed at least nine people, but no fatal incidents were reported Wednesday.

Additionally, at least 444 people were arrested for protesting and disrupting polling, the interior ministry said.Sisi needs high turnout

The government said it was aiming for a larger turnout than the 33 percent of 53 million registered voters who approved a constitution under Morsi in 2012 by 64%.

"We are hoping it exceeds 50%," government spokesperson Hany Salah told AFP.

Analysts say a turnout higher than that will decide the future of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"A turnout higher than what the 2012 constitution received will show that Morsi and the Brotherhood have been excluded from the country's political scene, at least in the near term," Hassan Nafea, professor of political science at Cairo University, told AFP.

The Brotherhood dominated every poll held since the ouster of long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.

But the movement, accused of trying to monopolise power, quickly alienated many Egyptians after Morsi took office.

The new constitution

"I voted yes for this constitution because I don't trust the Muslim Brotherhood. It is good the Brotherhood is out of power now," said Randa Ismail, one of the last voters to cast her ballot at a Cairo polling station.

But Amr Desoki, a student who said he was not a Brotherhood member, said he boycotted the referendum.

"This constitution or whatever this farce is going on these days... I am boycotting it... The constitution to me is illegitimate and I don't recognise it."

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday he hoped the referendum would be "transparent and accountable".

A day earlier, the State Department said a bill Congress is expected to pass Friday will allow the White House to unfreeze all $1.5bn in US aid if it can certify Egypt "has held a constitutional referendum, and is taking steps to support a democratic transition".

The new constitution has done away with much of the Islamist-inspired wording of Morsi's charter. It bolsters the military's powers and allows it to try civilians for attacks on the armed forces.

Interim president Adly Mansour's government has pledged that the referendum will be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.

The Brotherhood, much of whose leadership was jailed after Morsi's overthrow, is likely to boycott the elections.

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  abdel fattah al-sisi  |  hosni mubarak  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  egypt crisis
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

US biker deaths down: What's the secret?

Motorcycle deaths are on track to decline for a second year in the US thanks to a so far - on bikes - little-used road safety accessory.

 

Stay safe

US biker deaths down: What's the secret?
Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are eager to please and expand your horizons today. You may take on more than you anticipated and feel the effects later. Keep...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.