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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Egypt’s second stage of the Constitutional referendum

Egyptian women waiting in the lines to cast their ballots

The second stage of the historical Egyptian Constitutional referendum has been held on Saturday, 22 December 2012, in 17 governorates of the country.

The governorates have been divided into the four groups and included the following ones: Suez Canal cities (Suez, Ismailia, Port Said), Delta cities (Damietta, Beheira, Kafr El-Sheikh, Qalioubiya, Menoufiya), Upper Egypt (Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Qena, Luxor, Minya) and border governorates (Marsa Matrouh, New Valley, Red Sea).

The voters’ turnout was relatively low and was nearly 32% according to the observers.

As the first stage of the Constitutional referendum has been finished with almost 57% in favor of the Constitution but with the small gap between the “Yes” and “No” votes the second stage is expected to have the similar results, think some analytics.

The voting started at 8 a.m. local time and during the day of the voting the time of the closure of the polling stations was extended by the High Electoral Commission till 11 p.m.

The voting day was relatively calm and uneventful, despite the violate clashes broken out on the eve of the second stage of the referendum in the coastal city of Alexandria.

It is worth mentioning that Egyptian judges have refused to observe the electoral process due to the illegality of the whole process. So the lack of judicial supervision was obvious and deeper as it was during the first round of the voting.

Egypt's military securing the voting process
Egypt’s oppositional forces headed by the recently established National Salvation Front have claimed about the numerous violations committed during the second stage of the voting. Among the most common violations was the lack of judicial supervision and some “fake” judges, mistakes in the voting lists, closure of some polling station before the official time of the end of voting and also the late opening of some stations, illegal campaigning close to the places of voting and in some cases even inside of them etc. Muslim Brotherhood’s representatives though deny all those accusations and claim the referendum has been held legally and without any serious violations.

Counting the votes
The people still remain divided during the second stage of the referendum with many voters supporting the draft of the Constitution as they see it well balanced and good and able to ensure the stability and development for the country and the rival voters completely denying the draft which was created by the unrepresentative Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly and doesn’t represent all the factions of Egyptian society.

National Salvation Front has also issued a statement that the group will of course accept the results of the referendum but their political position remains unchanged: the draft of the Constitution cannot be accepted and the whole voting process was illegal and held with the massive violations.

The voting stations have been closed at 11 p.m. local time in Egypt, and the counting of the votes is ongoing now.