Split Egypt set for referendum

2012-12-13 12:19
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi. (AFP)

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi. (AFP)

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

Cairo - A divided Egypt is being called to vote in a referendum Saturday on a new constitution that the secular opposition fears will be used by President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood to usher in an Islamist interpretation of laws.

Protests over the draft charter, and over near-absolute powers that Morsi gave himself two weeks to push it through, have failed to sway the president from his path.

The country's powerful army, which ruled for 16 months following the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak early last year, has tried in vain to bring both sides together for talks to calm the crisis.

Fears of violence remain after violent clashes in Cairo last week in which eight people were killed and more than 600 injured.

Morsi has ordered the referendum to be split over two consecutive Saturdays because many judges are refusing to monitor voting.

The opposition National Salvation Front on Wednesday said it was urging its supporters to vote "no" - but also said it could call a last-minute boycott if the referendum was not brought back to just one day of voting, and if judges and independent observers did not monitor every polling station.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a former UN nuclear energy agency chief who heads the Front, tweeted: "Insistence on referendum in an explosive, polarized, chaotic & lawless environment is leading country to the brink."

Egyptian citizens were divided over the referendum.

"We don't want another Afghanistan"

"I'm voting yes," said Mohammed Hassan, a 28-year-old Cairo resident.

"The Muslim Brotherhood is good. No one has given them a chance. They've been in power for five months compared to 30 years for Mubarak," he said.

Mohammed Ibrahim Sayyid, in his 40s and sipping coffee in a cafe, felt differently.

"We don't like what's happening. We don't want another Afghanistan because of the Muslim Brotherhood. We are a big, diverse country of 80 million people. There shouldn't be one party ruling," he said.

Hamdi Imam, a street bookseller in his 50s, said: "I'm not going to vote because the constitution has blood on it... The Muslim Brotherhood will destroy the country."

The outcome of the referendum was uncertain, though many analysts thought it likely to pass, given the Brotherhood's efficiency in mobilising Egypt's vast poorer segment of society.

The opposition sees the proposed charter, drafted by a panel dominated by Islamists, as weakening human and gender rights, bolstering the military and undermining the judiciary's independence.

It fears its ambiguities and loopholes will push Egypt closer to a form of sharia law favoured by the more ultra-orthodox Islamists.

The opposition coalition said in a statement that "only one path exists to bring the country out of its current crisis, and that is for the president of the republic to assume his responsibilities by deciding to delay the referendum for two or three months and for serious national dialogue to be held so a consensus is reached on a draft constitution".

Public order

The UN human rights chief, the United States, European nations and international watchdogs have also criticised the draft constitution and the way it was rammed through.

Washington, which provides $1.3bn a year to Egypt's military, has called for "restraint" in maintaining public order.

Saturday will see voters in 10 governorates called to polling stations, including in the two biggest cities of Cairo and Alexandria.

On 22 December it will be the turn of Giza, Port Said, Luxor and 14 other regions.

Egyptians abroad have already started early voting in embassies and consulates, the official MENA news agency reported.

Morsi has ordered the army to secure state institutions, giving them police powers of arrest until the referendum result is known.

- SAPA
Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  north africa
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
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

13 summer safety tips

Summer time and the burning is easy. Get some great tips to ensure sunburn doesn't spoil your holiday!

 
 

I love summer.24

Stay in shape this summer
Ultimate fails compilation 2014
This sleeping bulldog is you during the holidays
This man's reaction to his Christmas present is priceless!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are in an innovative mood and may want to break out and do your own thing today. The Moon moves into Aries which emphasizes...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.