US media is reporting that Egyptian voters have overwhelmingly approved the country’s new military-backed constitution. According to an AP report in the Washington Times, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to continue its protests after having boycotted the vote:
Associated Press Saturday, January 18, 2014 CAIRO — Voters overwhelmingly supported Egypt’s military-backed constitution in a two-day election, with 98.1 percent supporting it in the first vote since a coup toppled the country’s president, the election commission said Saturday.
The election was seen as key to legitimizing its military-backed interim government and wasn’t a surprise, as authorities lobbied the public extensively to support it. But the turnout, only slightly higher than a referendum last year sponsored by the government of toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, suggests a nation that is still deeply divided.
Egypt’s High Election Commission said 38.6 percent of the country’s more than 53 million eligible voters took part in the two-day poll Tuesday and Wednesday. Judge Nabil Salib, who heads the commission, said 20.6 million voters cast ballots, with some 20.3 million votes counted after eliminating those voided.
Salib called the vote an ‘unrivalled success’ and an unprecedented turnout.’ However, a similar referendum in 2012 supported by Morsi’s government saw a 32.9 percent turnout.
This is the first vote since the military removed Morsi following massive protests in July. Officials view the vote as key in legitimizing the country’s military-backed interim government and its plan for parliamentary and presidential elections.
Morsi’s supporters and his outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group boycotted the vote and have alleged the results were forged. The Brotherhood has vowed to keep up their near-daily protests.
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW reported earlier this month that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi had issued a fatwa (religious decree) prohibiting Egyptians from voting in the constitutional referendum saying that participation would contravene Islam because it would mean colluding with a “sin”: