Lower voter turnout overshadows Egyptian referendum

Voters in Egypt have overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution, but widely varying reports on voter turnout have cast some doubt on just how many Egyptians back the new law.

While the unofficial results show 90 per cent of Egyptians favour the constitution, voter turnout was not so high.

Top election official Nabil Salib said the turnout for Tuesday and Wednesday’s poll was higher than the 2012 vote but no exact figure was given, the Associate Press reports.

The vote was also hailed by Egyptian media as an unparalleled majority.

But Al Jazeera and The Los Angles Times are reporting an extremely low voter turnout, calling into question the extent of support for the new constitution.

Al Jazeera reports the voter turnout at 38 per cent and the LA Times reports 36 per cent.

The highest increase in voter turn-out was seen in South Sanai with a show of 91 per cent of registered voters. The past three years of political unrest has deeply affected the region.

In the Northwest governate Matrouh, voter turnout was only 20 per cent.

Egypt saw its last constitutional draft in December 2012 forged by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi’s referendum had a 64 per cent approval but voter turn out was only 30 per cent.

The new constitution will ban political parties that are based on religion.

A high voter turnout could be crucial to promoting the political agenda of the Egyptian Army its leader, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Passing the referendum will likely lead to elections later this year, with Sisi at the forefront of the presidential run.

The first day of voting saw nine dead due to clashes between the army and Morsi supporters. Jan. 15  voting was generally peaceful.

Wednesday evening was marked with celebrations by some Egyptians eager to see the post-Morsi era.


photo source: Reuters

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