Sunday, December 16, 2012

Islamist Constitution Apprears Headed For Approval After First Round of Voting in Egyptian Referendum

"Why so serious?". Graffiti in Cairo depicting Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi as the queen of clubs on a card dealt by Batman villian the Joker. Photo via Ghazala Irshad
A draft of Egypt's constituion endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi appears headed for a likely victory after the first round of voting over the weekend.
An official tweet by the Brotherhood, Egypt's most powerful political group, said its tallies showed nearly 57 per cent of voters said "yes" to the disputed charter, while about 43 per cent voted 'no.' The vote was held on Saturday in 10 of the country's 27 provinces, including Cairo and the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city.
A second round of voting is set to take place for Dec 22nd where the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to carry most of Egypt's rural areas.

However, a number of rights groups, observers and opposition leaders allege that this weekend's balloting was marred by women and Christians being barred from some polling stations as well as people falsely identifying themselves as judges showing up at the polls.

Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt's best known reform leader, was as frustrated by how the referendum was run as the rights groups.

"Is a referendum held under insufficient judicial supervision, clearly tenuous security and the violence and violations we are witnessing the road to stability or playing with the country's destiny? the Nobel Peace Laureate and former U.N. nuclear agency chief wrote on his Twitter account.
Most of Egypt's judges has announced ahead of the weekend that they intended to boycott the referrendum on the Muslim Brotherhood backed draft of the new constitution. The move was repotedly never intended to halt the vote outright, but rather undermine its legitmacy should it have been approved.
Egypt's political crisis began on Nov. 22 when Morsi issued a decree granting himself — and the Islamist-dominated panel that drafted the constitution — immunity from judicial oversight or challenge, sparking mass demonstrations.

The constituent assembly then hurriedly approved the draft constitution in a marathon overnight session, prompting hundreds of thousands of the president's opponents to take to the streets in massive rallies — the largest since the uprising that toppled Mubarak in February 2011.

The vast majority of Egypt's judges, meanwhile, said Tuesday they would not oversee the referendum on the draft constitution. Ahmed el-Zind, chairman of the Judges' Club and a fierce Morsi critic, told a news conference that 90 percent of the nation's judges would join the boycott.
Observers have speculated that the unrest and chaos that resulted from Morsi's November 22 decreee was by design, pressuring voters to approve the Muslim Brotherhood-supported draft of the constitution without giving it any scrutiny.

Over the weekend, Morsi also authorized the Egyptian military [which is expected to recieve up to 20 new F-16 fighter jets courtesey of the Obama Adminstration- NANESB!] to assume joint responsibility with Egyptian police for public safety during the staggered balloting this weekend and next.

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