The verdict is out: Egypt's constitution gets thumbs up after two-round referendum
Egypt’s new constitution, drafted by Islamist supporters of President Mohammed Morsi, has been approved by 63.8 percent of voters in a two-round referendum, the supreme election committee said on Tuesday.
The result, which followed votes held on Dec. 15 and on Dec. 22, matched an earlier unofficial tally given by Morsi Muslim Brotherhood.
“We have seriously investigated all the complaints,” judge Samir Abu al-Matti of the Supreme Election Committee told a news conference. The final official turnout was 32.9 percent.
Judge al-Matti said there were around 51 million eligible voters but only 17 million participated to cast their vote. Around 10 million voted “yes” while six million voted “no,” he added.
Matti, meanwhile, rejected complaints filed that there were no judges overseeing the two-round referendum.
Now after the constitution has been approved, Egypt will have to form a new parliament in about two months.
Unofficial tallies from the Muslim Brotherhood - which catapulted President Morsi into the presidency this year - indicated that 64 percent had approved the charter. An opposition tally had a similar result.
But the opposition says the text, crafted mostly by Morsi's Islamist allies, fails to guarantee personal freedom and the rights of women and minorities. It says it will lead to more trouble in the most populous Arab nation.
Morsi's critics said the vote, conducted in two stages in a process that ended on Saturday, had been marred by a litany of irregularities, and have demanded a full inquiry.
The opposition, a loose alliance of socialists, liberal-minded Muslims and Christians, have also noted that less than a third of those eligible turned out to vote, undermining the legitimacy of the new constitution.
If the "yes" vote is confirmed, a parliamentary election will follow in about two months, setting the stage for Islamists to renew their battle with more secular-minded opponents.
Opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel peace prize winner, urged Morsi to form an all-inclusive government together with the liberal camp in order to patch up divisions and steer Egypt out of trouble in a democratic way.
"I am ready to join hands with President Morsi on condition that he forms a national (unity) government and speaks as president for all Egyptians," he told the daily Al-Shorouk.