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Egyptians approve first post-uprising constitution
The second and final phase of referendum ends as around 64 per cent of Egyptians approve the country's divisive draft constitution
Hatem Maher, Sunday 23 Dec 2012
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Egypt
An Egyptian woman casts her vote for the second round of a referendum on a disputed constitution drafted by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Morsi in Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (Photo: AP)

Egypt's hotly disputed draft constitution, the first following last year's uprising, is sure to pass after unofficial results Sunday show that around 64 per cent of Egyptians voted in favour.

A resounding victory in the second phase of the constitutional referendum gave a much-needed boost to Islamists, who believe the new constitution will pave the way for a smooth and swift transition to democracy under President Mohamed Morsi.

The Nile Delta Menoufiya Governorate, which gave former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq a large nod of approval during June elections, marginally opposed the constitution in the second phase of the referendum, joining Cairo and Gharbiya, who voted the document down in last week's first phase.

The "yes" vote won in the first phase by a relatively narrow 56.5 per cent but was able to extend their margin of victory on Sunday.

Official results, however, are not expected until Monday.

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Islamists will be looking to maintain their electoral prowess when the elections for Egypt's lower house of parliament, which was dissolved by a court order earlier this year, take place within two months.

Egypt's hotchpotch grouping of Islamists and Salafists, who have won every election since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, outmuscled the more secular-minded opposition, which argue the contentious national charter disregards the rights of Christians, women, workers and farmers among others.

The opposition also voiced reservations over many contentious articles, including those defining the role of the military and the judiciary, and what they perceive as the vague description of the "principles of Sharia," which is laid out as the primary source of legislation.

"The National Salvation Front will hold a news conference noon Sunday to announce its stance and outline its plans for the coming period," read a statement by the NSF, which was founded by prominent political figures Mohamed ElBaradei, Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabbahi.

The NSF and several other opposition forces reported many voting irregularities, with some going as far as to question the legitimacy of the whole process.

"Until now, the Supreme Electoral Commission has not investigated the violations committed in the first round. Will they investigate the irregularities after the announcement of the final result? A rigged referendum and invalid constitution," well-known writer Alaa Al-Aswany, who supported Morsi in the presidential elections but has become one of his staunchest opponents lately, stated on Twitter.

"Historic chance"

The divisive constitution is likely to widen the conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters and their opponents, who believe the influential Islamist group and its Salafist allies are focused on seizing political power after being oppressed for decades by former presidents Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Anwar El-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak.

However, the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), believes the passing of the new constitution might provide a chance to begin working towards an accord with opposition rather than give rise to further disputes.

"We hope that approving the new constitution will be a historic chance to bring all political forces together on the basis of mutual respect," Mourad Ali, the FJP's media adviser, said on his Facebook page.

"We are aiming to continue building our institutions, and together, we can achieve the goals of the glorious January revolution."

Eight were killed in deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi in front of the presidential palace in Cairo earlier this month, electrifying the build-up to the constitution referendum.

Regular clashes also occurred in a handful of governorates, including Egypt's second largest city, Alexandria.

Following a month of bloodshed and political gridlock, it remains to be seen what effect the approval of the new constitution will have on the Arab world's most populous country.





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AmericanMuse
23-12-2012 09:57pm
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2+
Bad Omen
It is always a bad omen when religion takes over the State.
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7



MPA
23-12-2012 09:16pm
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64% is all that needs to be said
The VAST majority of Egyptians approve of both Morsi and the Constitution. The opposition needs to start figuring out ways to to work together, instead against Egypt.
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6



Parvin
23-12-2012 04:27pm
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Dialogue
Dialogue, compromise, and reconcillation between/among the supporters and opponents of the Draft Constitution are the only way forward for EGYPT.
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5



Mohammad Ali Khan
23-12-2012 12:06pm
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Democracy and minority.
The complex interaction between what is really the best,what is best in the mind of majority,what is best in the mind of minority should be allowed to play out its natural life.Experience is the best reformer.With time, unfortunately it may take long,society will mend itself.Just like the decline is natural,the rise is natural. All the components of Al-Asr are equally important.Patience,working collectively,and basing decisions on the right information.If the Egyptians continue to work togather with patience, they will find what is right for them.Happiness and prosperity is a good index.If things are not getting better,don't be afraid to stop and think.Don't be afraid to change your mind.
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4



Ansari
23-12-2012 07:59am
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Congratulation to Egyptian people first democratically approved constitution
Why AO calls the NSF opposition figures a prominen. This is self proclaimation by lowly opposition. Moussa, Elbaradei, and sabbahi are not prominent and never were. Mubarak kept them on very tight leash. I think best course of action for miniscule opposition is to concede defeat in the polls, and commit to work with elected government administration for the development of the country and it people. If these opposition cannot commit this they should leave politics and let others deal with this.
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asif laique
23-12-2012 07:47am
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Victory for peaceful Party "Islamic brotherhood"
Many many advance congrates for impressive president of new egypt, Mohammad Mursi and Hisham Qindeel normal and mankind prime minister of great ideal Islamic country of islamic world means "Egypt" "New Egypt" Peaceful Egypt, Ideal Egypt, Best wishes to all egyptians for advance final victory, I like Egypt as per higher educations, world bigest universities are there, Islamic history attached with Egypt. Congrates in advance to all Mursi supporters, I am a also Mursi and Ikhwan Supporters, I love Egypts and his Scholars, doctors specially Hasanul Banna great personility of egypt "Please celebrate islamic victory day after final result on behalf of Hasanul Banna aims" and Jamaluddin Afgani, Mohd Abduhu, Syed Qutub, Yousuf Qarzawi, Ali tantawee, Mohd Shouqi, hafiz Ibrahim etc. Great victory for brotherhood party, Allah help you for going continoue up, Keep it up, Good job, done by Ikhwanul Muslimeen, specially great effective personility of News Islamic preside
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Yaseen Deep, ALex
23-12-2012 06:49am
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Failed State
I predict in less than a year, egypt will be a failed state and divided similar to Iraq, syria, Sudan, ... Allah AKber.
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Imran Umer
23-12-2012 06:30am
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Welldone Ikhwan
Well done Ikhwan n Hizb al Noor.
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