Egypt Votes: Constitutional Referendum
Away from the biased gaze of the local press, complete silence fell across Cairo, a city that castes itself as the image, which is often referred to as a separate entity by those who live away from the complexes of Cairo.
The Select Electoral Committee’s Zaghloul El-Balshi stated that 50% of 25 million registered voters out of 10 governorates voted in the first round. Unprepared for a large turnout, this is what precisely happened to the amusement of some women voters waiting in line in Sharqia. The government was indeed surprised, and had to extend the opening hours of the polling station to 11.00pm. After all the hoo-hah and violent behavior that has been prevalent in the last 3 weeks of opposition antics, common sense reared its head amongst the people.
Unlike Cairo, where there were some problems due to overcrowding, the general inability to wait for anything, issues over ballot papers, and registry lists that had not been updated, the provinces outside Cairo, were more peaceful, and more together despite the overall understaffing taking place due to the wedge dividing some members of the judiciary at polling stations. In knowledge of this, the people who are caste by Cairo as ignorant, illiterate, and not able to read the draft constitution proved to be fully politically aware, more so than those whose education belies them according to one genuine T.V. reporter. They, in the provinces were not there voting for themselves, but voting for their children – Egypt’s future, and they, unlike the small opposition, the National Salvation Front, waited democratically, in the cue, ready to accept whatever the outcome. When voters in line at a polling station (Mansoura) was asked by an English speaking anti-Mursi T.V. channel what helped to make them decide, they replied the truth – they had discovered that much of what had been said against the draft constitution was a lie. One wonders the source of the false articles spreading around that state for example that all girls will be married at age 9! The Western-backed members of the National Salvation Front may have been proud at what they achieved in a short time, but it has nothing to do with democracy, let alone the people they wanted to deprive of the vote.
To counter the continued cry of lack of transparency, the ballot count was carried out in public.
Unlike the atmosphere portrayed by the media, many voters turned out because it was their chance to do their bit for their country, and any pensive mood as reported, was a reflection of Cairo, where much of the unrest has taken place.
Accusations, in Cairo of course were flying back and forward from Salafi preacher Hazem Abdu-Ismail being accused of attacking the Wafd Party headquarters whose politics changes with the wind to results being announced before the deadline – unfortunately anyone can don a certain image to cast the net of blame elsewhere. If before the deadline it is meant the second day, well considering that the count began in public as the polling stations closed one has to wonder who is really asking for transparency, and if they really meant it!
Said by a supporter of President Mursi, unfortunately, but happens to hold true, Essam Sultan, vice president of the Islamist Wasat Party and a member of the Constituent Assembly explains:
“But the most important reason is the public reaction against political and media elites who dropped, last month, their masks of democracy and peaceful resistance,”
“This elite will need many years to cleanse and reintroduce itself once again to the people who only believe in peaceful and logical dialogue and refuse to lie. Many of those who were to vote ‘no,’ amended their opinion to ‘yes,’ once they saw the hysteria of the elite within the past 48 hours,”
Of course the National Salvation Front has a face to defend and continue making accusations like electoral violations as published in Ahram Online:
Cairo had the most violations with 374, followed by Alexandria with 105, El-Sharqiya 75, Gharbiya 67, Daqahliya 55, Assiut 23, Sohag 19, Aswan 17, North Sinai 11, and South Sinai 3.
Violations included unstamped voting papers, the names of deceased persons on voting lists, the absence of observers at polling stations, and delays in opening polling stations.
The front also claimed they had detected at least 120 ‘fake’ judges supervising the poll.
Most level headed Egyptians still expect ‘noise’ as one former Foreign Affairs minister puts it from the Front, whether the result supports the draft constitution or not! The Front might want to try the democratic approach, for currently the only thing that unites the motley crew like the Syrian rebels, is their dislike of the president, and their Islamophobia, however the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood do need to consider the practices of Prophet Muhammed (SAW), which was inclusive, and not exclusive. It is the people, and not the politicians that are the hope for any country!
“Blow by blow: Egypt votes in disputed constitution referendum.” http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/60519/Egypt/Politics-/Blow-by-blow-Egypt-votes-in-disputed-constitution-.aspx
“Egypt opposition claims victory in constitution poll.” http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/60612/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt-opposition-claims-victory-in-constitution-po.aspx