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Old January 16th, 2014   #1
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Default New Egyptian constitution approved

The Egyptian military-backed government has finished its referendum on a new constitution, which was expected to pass easily especially after the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been rebanned and much of its leadership broken up, called on its supporters to boycott the vote. This seems to've been the case with turnout on the referendum ranging all over the place from 40-55% which indicates people did not show up to vote as well as the polarized nature of the country. But whether this was because the MB still had authority or there is pessimism and apathy among the people who chose not to vote, that isn't clear.

The vote would overturn the previous constitution, which was designed by the MB and had reflected many of their views, which was a common criticism of the document. As with this episode turnout on that referendum was also low which allowed for supporters of it to overwhelming approve it.

The MB has mostly been broken apart, with the military government continuing to blame acts of violence in the country on the MB and alleging it has "foreign ties", which is usually a euphemism for al-Qaeda in the Middle-East. New laws placed on demonstrations have also gone beyond the islamist-focus of the government's prosecutions, with secular activists also being targeted, especially if they were involved in the protests against Mubarak. Deposed President Morsi is being tried as well for much of the same charges that were leveled against Mubarak, whose charges was in turn dismissed by the military government shortly after the overthrow.

With the constitution approved the government has its route open for legislative and presidential elections. The military is expected to support its own preferred parties and it is also expected that the current junta leader, General Sisi, will likely present himself as a presidential candidate.

Egyptians back constitution, opening way to Sisi presidential run | Reuters

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(Reuters) - Egyptians overwhelmingly approved a new constitution by referendum, state media reported on Thursday, a widely expected outcome that nudges army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ever closer to a bid for the presidency.

The vote advances a transition plan the military-backed government unveiled after deposing Islamist president Mohamed Mursi last July following mass unrest over his rule.

The constitution won wide support among the many Egyptians who favored Mursi's removal. The Muslim Brotherhood had called for a boycott, saying the vote was part of a coup that deposed an elected leader and revived a brutal police state.

Last edited by Commissar MercZ; January 16th, 2014 at 04:26 PM.
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Old January 19th, 2014   #2
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Default Re: New Egyptian constitution approved

Almost looks like they have come full circle. The only thing missing is Sisi taking power.

I wonder what role foreign governments played in this. There didn't seem to be a lot of western reaction to the way the military dealt with the riots. Looks like a bunch of people figured a secular military junta is better than the Muslim Brotherhood.


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Old January 26th, 2014   #3
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Default Re: New Egyptian constitution approved

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Originally Posted by MrFancypants View Post
Almost looks like they have come full circle. The only thing missing is Sisi taking power.

I wonder what role foreign governments played in this. There didn't seem to be a lot of western reaction to the way the military dealt with the riots. Looks like a bunch of people figured a secular military junta is better than the Muslim Brotherhood.
It's more a case of a military junta protecting the status quo, without any thing about its religious position. Saudi Arabia is after all among the biggest supporters of the military government in Egypt, while taking the opposite position in Syria apparently.

Anyways, the reason why I dug this up is that the state office released the figures and placed turnout at a paltry 39%. This would indicate that only the most hardcore of the military's supporters came out if we're to accept the almost unanimous yes vote. Now of course the MB would say that this is the scope of its support, but most of the people who chose not to vote were probably a combination of both MB supporters as well as people who're all together apathetic and discouraged by the resurgence of the old order.

This is a contrast to the way Tunisia passed its own constitution- with while having the same degree of polarization between religious and non-religious parties, killings, and foreign pressure, avoided a military coup and resorting to strong-arming from the position of election-as-mandate or threat of arms.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/wo...tution.html?hp
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Old January 26th, 2014   #4
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Default Re: New Egyptian constitution approved

To be fair though, the Muslim Brotherhood's constitutional referendum only saw a 33% turnout. It doesn't seem like either choice has been particularly appealing to the Egyptian people.

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Old January 27th, 2014   #5
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Default Re: New Egyptian constitution approved

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Originally Posted by Red Menace View Post
To be fair though, the Muslim Brotherhood's constitutional referendum only saw a 33% turnout. It doesn't seem like either choice has been particularly appealing to the Egyptian people.
Even in the MB dominated turnout, they only scratched away with 63%, which doesn't seem as absurd as >98% in this current vote even if only their supporters participated.

I'm not saying the MB's ideas were much better- but there should've been a better way to arrive at this constitution rather than forcibly removing a democratically-elected leader. The military can pussyfoot as much as they want, but ultimately they did remove a leader who was voted in, for the most part, fairly.

The MB-dominated constitution, which was dumb to begin with considering they already had passed a more open constitution before then, had the issue of being filled with their political viewpoints. The current constitution prides itself as being more secular-minded and non-partisan, but it has moved power back into the hands of the military that the 2011 constitution slightly weaker, one that they were already heavily influencing under the auspices of SCAF.

Currently the military is trying to advertise itself as being besieged by terrorists displeased with its attempt to make a sectarian and pluralistic government, and a progressive force as such that foreign observers will readily accept. This is true to an extent, but it has also tried to return to more draconian laws on protests and people criticizing the government- arresting people who are hardly the archetype of Islamists- liberal-minded university professors, trade unionists, youth who were in the non-MB protest groups like April 6th Movement- have all been caught up in the sweep.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/23/wo...-protests.html

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/201...-under-threat/

The idiotic nature the military stirred up to this referendum made it such that any criticism of the constitution or Genral Sisi has been construed as making one part of the MB (or "Ikhwan" as it is shortened to in Arabic), and some of this has reached ludicrous levels with journalists from other outlets being accussed of being from al-Jazeera (which got banned in Egypt) for reporting on them, and according to one account, they even attacked a pair of Egyptian-Christian journalists of being pro-MB al-Jazeera journalists. This coming from the group which presents themselves as the guardians of vulnerable minorities.

As one of the correspondents in there put it,

"Everyone in the opposition is #ikhwan, every critical journalist works for Al Jazeera, every foreigner is a spy. Welcome to #Sisi's #Egypt."
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