President congratulates Egyptians on new constitution, ignores next steps

Ahram Online, Sunday 19 Jan 2014

Egypt is still unclear about its future following last week's ratification of a newly-amended constitution

Interim president Adly Mansour (Photo: AP)

Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour congratulated Egyptians for approving the country's newly-amended constitution in last week's referendum, but didn't announce Egypt's next steps regarding presidential or parliamentary elections.

In a televised speech, Mansour stated that Egyptians "chose well" by voting "yes" to the constitutional referendum and praised women especially for standing in the front lines and being a symbol of "political awareness."

It was expected that Mansour's Sunday address to the nation would put an end to speculation and rumours concerning Egypt's next elections cycle.

Last week's constitutional referendum, in which an amended version of the 2012 constitution was put to a nationwide vote, had been billed by the interim government as the first step in the country's political transition to democratic rule following the 3 July ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

On Saturday the Supreme Electoral Committee announced that 98.1 percent of Egyptians had approved the amended national charter. The referendum had a turnout of 38.6 percent of registered voters.

The passing of the constitution, however, has effectively annulled an 8 July presidential decree in which a future roadmap was proposed, and now the country has been left waiting for news of the next step.

In his Sunday speech, Mansour addressed Egyptian youth, stating that their role was not yet over and they should continue their path and engage in Egypt's political scene in a "mindful" way.

Far less youth voted in this year's constitutional referendum as opposed to 2012, a sign that younger generations may be wary of what they perceive as an endorsement of military rule.

Mansour also praised the role of the police and armed forces in securing the referendum.

Nasserist opposition politician Hamdeen Sabbahi has announced that he will run in the upcoming presidential elections, stating that he is the only one who has announced his candidacy so far.

Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt's top military leader, announced that he would only run for president as per request of the people and an army mandate.

In Egypt's last transitional period, when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) ruled the country in 2012 following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak the previous year, parliamentary elections were held before those for the presidency.

At the time, Islamists held a majority of seats in parliament.

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