Egypt’s post-constitutional referendum political blues

By bne IntelliNews January 20, 2014

The final tally of Egypt’s constitutional referendum held on January 14-15 showed 98.1% of voters giving their full approval to the fundamental amendments to the constitution of December 2012. According to figures released by the Supreme Electoral Committee, voter turnout were a moderate 38.6% of Egypt’s 53.42mn eligible voters.

Following the release of the official results, the currently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which had called for a referendum boycott and lead violent street protests against it, released a brief statement alleging the authorities practiced electoral fraud without providing any substantive proof of actual cases.

On the political front, the army and some liberal politicians took the initiative to contain the damage done to the body politic from months of violent conflict between Muslim Brotherhood-led Islamist opposition and the security apparatus thought to have been reflected in the moderate voter turnout.

The army reportedly asked to hold a dialogue with prominent youth movements to discuss their grievances and try to bridge differences in points of view ahead of the third anniversary of January 25, 2011 uprising. The youth, who were the backbone of the Tamarod movement that ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, are thought to have boycotted the referendum feeling alienated from the political process by the heavy handed clampdown on liberal and Islamist opposition voices over the past few months.

Meanwhile, liberal politicians headed by Amr Moussa, a leading figure in the National Salvation Front that toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, swiftly moved to offer an olive branch to the Muslim Brotherhood calling for talks aimed at reaching a national reconciliation.

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