Walking like an Egyptian

March 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

Egypt had its constitutional referendum on Saturday about a week earlier than, I have to admit, I was expecting.

The issues are thrashed out in full here but the gist is that a yes vote would make the constitution just about palatable so that fresh elections can be held as soon as possible, possibly within six months. Meanwhile no campaigners pointed out that this still left the constitution far from perfect, and could prevent real change from taking place – not least because the new constitution would bar the Muslim Brotherhood and ElBaredi from running.

Most principle opposition members including the April 6th and Revolutionary Youth movements, and potential Presidential candidates ElBaradei, Amr Moussa, and Hisham El-Bastawisy, (vice president of the Court of Cassation) argued for a no vote whilst the military council, the NDP and most Islamists (including the Muslim Brotherhood) argued for a yes vote. This rather terse piece suggests why.

In the end the vote went heavily in favour of the yes camp – 77% to 23% – suggesting that for all the enthusiasm demonstrated in Tahrir square the revolutionary movement hasn’t quite got the hang of winning elections yet. The fact that ElBaradei was physically prevented from voting suggests the judiciary haven’t quite got the hang of administering them either.

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