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“Sharia Thirsty” Take Solid First Round Lead in Egypt’s Constitutional Referendum

December 16th, 2012 · No Comments · Essays

Morsy_Sharia WomenA female Morsi supporter holds aloft a placard that reads: “yes to the constitution”

Al-Ahram is reporting the ten individual governorate and pooled final results, noting that all these unofficial tallies,

are from governorates’ presiding judges, except Cairo’s, which are from the tallies of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Popular Current operation centre and Al-Jazeera TV network.

The Cairo tally favored “No” votes—“No”: 1,256,248 (56.9 per cent); “Yes”: 950,532 (43.1 per cent)

But the overall tally was “Yes”: 4,595,311 (56.50 per cent); “No”: 3,536,838 (43.50 per cent)

These results elicited a predictably crowing response from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which asserted,

The Egyptian people have expressed their free will in the first stage of the constitutional referendum and have also proved to be highly aware; this is a genuine democratic process

The FJP statement maintained further that the apparent approval was motivated by Egyptians’ desire for constitutional legitimacy and stability, while claiming the voting process was conducted with integrity and full transparency, under judicial supervision, and accompanied by the presence of international media and rights organizations. In their statement, the FJP also thanked those voters who participated in the referendum, as well as the judiciary and security forces for maintaining a safe and professional environment for citizens to exercise their rights, and urged Egyptians to participate in the second phase of the referendum on December 22, 2012, during which the remaining 17 governorates will vote.

The “liberal” opposition National Salvation Front, with equal predictability, contested the unofficial tally reported by Al-Ahram, and claimed “unprecedented rigging” of votes had occurred.

Reportage throughout yesterday’s vote by Al-Ahram included projections on the likely outcome, and their supporting rationales.  At 7:50 pm (local time), Mamdouh Ahmed Ismail, member of the Salafist Nour Party, opined to Al-Ahram:

Voter turnout rates are very high in light of all the fears and threats. I believe the ‘yes’ vote will win by about 58 to 60 per cent.

Ismail added,

If the opposition doesn’t like the result, it is free to contest upcoming parliamentary elections and engage the public. Even if the public rejects the draft constitution, this is democracy. If this is the will of people, we will readily accept it. I don’t think we will see any problems in the streets in the coming week. Egyptians aren’t prone to violence and clashes.

Given that Egypt’s remaining 25 million eligible voters, primarily from conservative rural regions, cast their ballots next week (December 22, 2012), the majority “yes” tally is almost certain to increase.

This popular view—consistent with repeated polling data showing 70 percent plus support for strict application of the Sharia overall, and its individual hadd punishments, specifically, was summarized very aptly last week by a pro-Constitution demonstrator, Hesham Darwish, from Cairo’s Hadayeq al-Qobba district:

People are thirsty for Sharia. [emphasis added] We do not support the president for who he is, but rather for the Islamic project he promises.

 


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