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Middle East

Egypt approves disputed draft constitution

Charter drafted by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Morsi wins 63.8 percent of votes in two-round referendum.
Last Modified: 25 Dec 2012 19:32

Egypt's new constitution, drafted by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Morsi, has been approved by 63.8 percent of voters in a two-round referendum, the country's top election committee has announced.

The result on Tuesday, which followed votes held on December 15 and on December 22, matched an earlier unofficial tally given by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

"We have seriously investigated all the complaints," Samir Abu al-Matti, of the Supreme Election Committee, told a news conference. The final official turnout was 32.9 percent of the country's 52 million eligible voters.

Morsi is now expected to call parliamentary elections within the next two months. In the interim, all legislative power will now be transferred from the presidency to the upper house of parliament.

All decrees issued since the revolution that removed former leader Hosni Mubarak from power in February 2011, meanwhile, now stand null and void.

These include both those passed by Morsi and those passed by the country's supreme military council, which ruled over Egypt for 16 months after the revolution.

The Supreme Court will also be reshuffled, with its members decreasing from 19 to 10. Morsi is expected to announce the name of the new head of the court within the next few days, Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reported from Cairo.

No plans for protests

"The election commission went through, complaint by complaint, all the natures of the complaints that were filed by the opposition and independent monitors, debunking all of the allegations. One of the top allegations or concerns that the election commission wanted to respond to was the allegation that there was not correct judicial supervision in some of the polling stations," Rageh said.

"We heard the election commission say it was deeply offended by that allegation, that it went through every such claim and in fact it was willing to present the names, contact numbers and information of every judge they believe was indeed inside any of those disputed polling stations."


Morsi's Leftist, liberal, secularist and Christian opponents had taken to the streets to block what they argued was a move to
pass a charter that would mix politics and religion.

The president argues that the new constitution offers sufficient protection for minorities, and adopting it quickly is necessary to end two years of turmoil and political uncertainty that has wrecked the economy.

Cairo, gripped by often violent protests in the runup to the vote, appeared calm after the announcement and opposition groups
have announced no plans for demonstrations to mark the result.

"The results was so odd and no change in the percentage points shows that nothing was done to take our complaints into
account," Khaled Dawood, a spokesperson for the opposition National Salvation Front coalition, said.

The government, however, has backed the announcement of the result.

"There is no loser in this referendum result. This constitution will be for all of us," Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said in a statement. He called on "all political forces to cooperate with the government" to restore the economy.

The Brotherhood's religious leader, Mohamed Badie, tweeted: "Congratulations to the Egyptian people on approving the constitution of revolutionary Egypt. Let's start building our country's rebirth... men and women, Muslims and Christians."

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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