Cairo: Egypt’s new constitution was approved by 64 percent
of voters in a two-round referendum, an official in the Muslim
Brotherhood said today citing the group’s unofficial tally, Al Arabiya reported.
Rival camps said that the constitution, drafted by an
Islamist-dominated assembly, was approved by a majority of
Egyptians after two rounds of voting that ended with a final
The Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled
President Mohamed Mursi to power in a June election, said 64
percent of voters backed the charter, citing its unofficial tally.
“According to our calculations, the
final result of the second round is 71 percent voting ‘yes’ and
the overall result (of the two rounds) is 63.8 percent,” a
Brotherhood official, who was in an operations room monitoring the
vote, told Reuters.
The Brotherhood and its party, as well as members of the
opposition, had representatives monitoring polling stations and
the vote count across the country. An opposition official also
told Reuters their unofficial count showed the result was a “yes”
The referendum committee may not declare official results for the
two rounds until Monday, after hearing appeals. If the outcome is
confirmed, a parliamentary election will follow in about two
Mursi’s Islamist backers say the constitution is vital for
the transition to democracy, nearly two years after the overthrow
of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in an uprising. It will provide
stability needed to help a fragile economy, they said.
Mursi’s liberal and secular opposition now faces the task of
trying to organize the significant portion of the population
angered by what it sees as attempts by Mursi and the Brotherhood
to gain a lock on political power.
The main opposition group, the
National Salvation Front, said it would now start rallying for
elections for the lawmaking, lower house of parliament, expected
early next year. Rights groups reported what they said were
illegalities in voting procedures.
They said some polling stations
opened late, that Islamists illegally campaigned at some polling
places and complained of irregularities in voter registration.
But the committee overseeing the two-stage vote said its
investigations showed no major irregularities in voting on Dec.
15, which covered about half of Egypt’s 51 million voters.
25 million were eligible to vote in the second round. Only about
eight million of the 25 million Egyptians eligible to vote - a
turnout of about 30 percent - cast their ballots. In the first
round of voting, about 56 percent said “yes” to the charter. The
turnout then was about 32 percent.
The results of the two rounds
mean the referendum was approved by about 63 percent.
Hours before polls closed, Egypt’s Vice President Mahmoud Mekky
and Central Bank Governor Farouk Al-Oqdah resigned from their
Mekky said he wanted to quit last month but stayed on
to help Mursi tackle the crisis that blew up when the Islamist
leader assumed wide powers.
Mekky, a prominent judge who said he
was uncomfortable in politics, disclosed earlier he had not been
informed of Mursi’s power grab. The timing of his resignation
appeared linked to the lack of a vice-presidential post under the
Meanwhile, the status of Central Bank Governor Farouq Al-Oqdah was
murkier. State TV first reported his resignation, then soon after
reported the Cabinet denied he has stepped down in a possible sign
Al-Oqdah, in his post since 2003, has reportedly
been seeking to step down but the administration was trying to
convince him to stay on. The confusion over Al-Oqdah’s status
comes at a time when the government is eager to show some
stability in the economy as the Egyptian pound has been sliding
and a much-needed $4.8 billion loan from the IMF has been
Over the past month, seven of Mursi’s 17 top advisers
and the one Christian among his top four aides resigned. Like
Mekky, they said they had never been consulted in advance on any
of the president’s moves, including his Nov. 22 decrees, since
rescinded, that granted himself near absolute powers.