Egypt: New breeding ground for government-sponsored Terrorism
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | DECEMBER 24, 2012
The tumultuous post revolutionary Egypt already has its new Constitution. According to unofficial results published by the local press, those who voted for the new ruling document gained even more support in the second phase of the referendum which is sponsored by Islamists. However, the victory has been questioned due to numerous reports of irregularities in the vote count. The new Egyptian constitution is hardly a step that enables a smooth transition to stability.
Strong participation in major Islamist strongholds, increased support for the Constitution to 71%, about 15 points higher than in the first part of the referendum. In the southern provinces of Beni Suef, and Qena it reached 85%. Adding both days, the average hit 64%.
Islamist leaders have welcomed the completion of a milestone that they qualify as “historic”. “We hope that the adoption of the new constitution is a historic opportunity to unite all political forces on the basis of mutual respect,” said Murad Ali, a spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party (JLP), the electoral arm of the Muslims Brotherhood. According to current regulations no qualified majority was necessary to ratify the draft of the constitution.
However, the opposition considers the process illegitimate. “There has been widespread irregularities that have altered the result … We will file a complaint to the Attorney General documenting them,” said in a statement the National Salvation Front, the main opposition coalition that brings together political figures such as Nobel Peace Prize Mohamed ElBaradei and former presidential candidates Musa Amr and Hamdin Sabbahi.
Due to the speed of the call to the polls, no international organization monitored the referendum, but officials highlight the presence of some twenty Egyptian NGOs, most of which publicly requested a repeat of the voting due to fraud. Among the most common violations cited by observers was conducting campaign in mosques as well as inside polling stations, and the lack of judges to ensure the cleanliness of the vote.
The Electoral Commission is examining the allegations before offering the official result of its query. The chances that the commission calls for a repetition of the process, however, are almost null. During the presidential election, no tangible evidence was presented to support accusations of fraud, but the judicial authorities who monitored the elections and concluded that the irregularities were minor and posed no decisive threat to the result of the voting.
Judging by statements issued in recent days, the Islamists seem to be aware of the need to increase social support for the Constitution. “The articles rejected by the opposition are a few. We are willing to negotiate with them to make amendments and approve them in the new parliament,” says Ashraf Ismail, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in the province of Beni Suef.
Beyond the high percentage collected by the no, there is another very significant fact: participation was just over 30%, the lowest figure of all votes taken after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. In presidential elections, almost half of the census usually exercise their right to vote. “A Constitution that is only supported by 20% of the census, compared with 80% who disagree or boycott it does not enjoy sufficient consensus to be legitimate,” says analyst Abdel Magid.
If there is one important result being obtained in this supposed legitimate, open referendum is that a strong minority is getting away with their agenda. A it happens in all democracies, a small portion of the Egyptian society is easily becoming the dominant party in the country; a party that will perhaps become the new ruling group to stay in power for many years to come and that will operate under the mandate of an even smaller group.
The opposition, formed mainly by secular parties, defied the process over the weekend. “We will continue fighting to bring down this Constitution through peaceful means,” proclaimed Amr Hamzawy, a rising political figure among liberals. The results of any of the five appointments to the polls since the fall of Mubarak have led politicians to seek consensus. On the horizon is already shaping the next battle: the legislative elections scheduled for within a couple of months.
But this referendum could serve to end the demonstrations of recent weeks, some of which led to pitched battles between Islamists and seculars that resulted in a dozen deaths. With its entry into force, the Constitution repealed the decree which granted almost absolute power to Mohamed Morsi, one of the origins of the current political crisis. Until the election of the new People’s Assembly, the legislature will pass from the hands of Morsi to the Senate, where various Islamist groups have a wide majority.
Broadly speaking, it can be concluded that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have had their way on the pulse with the opposition. If everything goes as planned, Egypt is on its way to becoming another theocracy, where the Muslim Brotherhood will have Sharia Law as its guide to rule over everyone in the country. In gone unchallenged, this type of Islamist radicalism runs the risk of becoming another source of western hating, government-sponsored terror state which will be a perfect excuse for military industrial complex forces to intervene and invade in the near future.
One of the possible lessons of the current constitutional battle is the confirmation that the Islamists are a strong social minority that has the ability and the potential to decide the fate of Egypt without the consent of an important part of society. Although Morsi had to return power he had unlawfully taken before, his temporary power grab worked as a distraction to confuse an important portion of the population that after rejecting the current process have left important decisions in the hands of Morsi’s supporters.
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