Egyptian Voters Approve New Constitution
The official results of a referendum on Egypt’s new constitution where announced on Tuesday. They showed that 63.8% of votes where in favour of accepting the new constitution, which opposition groups have claimed is divisive and not representative of the whole country. Weeks of protests saw thousands of demonstrators across the country call for the downfall of the regime unless the referendum was halted. Amongst the main concerns were the fact that the constitution was drawn up in a hurry by an Islamist dominated group, and that it placed too much emphasis on the creation of an Islamic country, without provided the necessary representation and protection for the country’s religious minorities – such as Coptic Christians. Some have suggested that it will allow Islamic clerics to intervene is lawmaking. But despite the strength of feeling, the opposition have been unable to win support at the polls.
There have been claims of voting malpracties in some areas, however there is little evidence for widespread vote rigging.
A Call for Unity and Calm – and a Renewed Focus on the Economy
The Muslim Brotherhood have called for the opposition to put the days of mass street protests behind them, so that all parties can work together to build a stronger Egypt – something which is sorely needed after the toll that the revolution and subsequent unrests has had on the country’s economy.
“I hope all national powers will now start working together now to build a new Egypt,” said Murad Ali, a senior official in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
“I see this as the best constitution in Egypt’s history,” he added.
The Eyptian economy has suffered hugely over the past couple of years. The government recently put in place new restrictions on foreign currency, in a move to prevent capital flight. It is now illegal to enter or leave the country with more than $10,000 in cash.
The announcement of the final referendum results sparked a small protest in Tahrir Square, where demonstrators burned tired and blocked traffic, however there is little sign that Egyptian’s still have the appetite for mass protests. It seems more likely that the opposition will heed the call to refocus on the state of the country’s economy, and how to rebuild Egypt’s wealth and power.