As Claude Rains said in Casablanca, we’re “shocked, shocked”, that Egypt’s government, run by the Muslim Brotherhood, has claimed victory in the second round of voting to ratify its Sharia constitution amid cries of voter fraud and voter intimidation.
The ruling Muslim Brotherhood party and its state news agency al-Ahram claimed 64 percent of voters approved the sharia laws. Supposedly polling station officials compiled the results.
The National Salvation Front (NSF), the main party opposing the Muslim Brotherhood immediately announced it would appeal the results, asserting there were numerous “fraud and violations.” Abdel Ghaffer Shokr, speaking for the NSF, said, “The referendum is not the end of the road. It is only one battle.”
Cairo-based journalist Bel Trew said, “They’ve seen a number of instances of possible vote rigging, including unsupervised polling stations, missing ballot papers, stuffed ballot boxes.” He added that there may have been Salafist groups frightening voters at polling stations into approving the constitution.
Another journalist in Cairo, Wael Eskander, said of the new constitution and the voter intimidation and fraud, “It takes away more freedoms, it gives police powers to detain people for more than 12 hours… the regime is determined to see the new legislation pass.”
The constitution, which was created by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly, is clearly based on sharia law, and as such has been fought by activists who say that the frontal assault on civil liberties and suppression of minorities is not reflective of what the Egyptian people wanted when they ousted former President Hosni Mubarak last year.
The ruling Muslim Brotherhood party says the document will engender democracy and stability.
Stability, yes. There’s always stability when you completely suppress opposition. Democracy?
Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekki resigned immediately after the polls closed Saturday night, possibly because the new constitution has no provisions for a vice-president. It is quite obviously a blueprint for a tyrannical dictatorship.
There were massive protests in Alexandria on the eve of the voting, with both sides represented; there were reports of 50 people being injured.