Egypt: Opposition to Islamic supremacists say referendum “marred by irregularities and violations,” calls for new vote
They charge that the Muslim Brotherhood intimidated people into voting in favor of the Sharia constitution. That “largely secular” group? Oh, surely not!
Egypt”s main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, called on Sunday for a repeat of the first round of the constitutional referendum and wants a probe into 4,000 complaints it said took place during the vote.
Islamists claimed victory in the initial phase of the referendum, but the opposition alleged the balloting had been “marred by irregularities and violations,” the Front said in a statement obtained by Al Arabiya.
The two sides’ positions drew out the deep uncertainty and division seen in Egypt over the past three weeks, a period marked by mass protests and deadly clashes.
A small majority of 56.5 percent voted for the draft charter, which was put to half of Egypt’s 51 million voters on Saturday, according to the Freedom and Justice Party. They are the political branch of President Mohamed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Egyptian media reported roughly the same figure, which fell short of the landslide victory the Brotherhood had been hoping for….
The head of the Front, Mohamed ElBaradei, a former chief of the U.N. nuclear energy agency, tweeted of the first round: “Country split, flagrant irregularities, low turnout, disillusion with Islamists on the rise. Illiteracy remains a hurdle.”…
Liberals and Christians boycotted the assembly that drafted the charter, complaining that the Islamist-dominated panel ignored their concerns….
For his part, Hisham Kassem, an Egyptian analyst based in Cairo, told AFP the Muslim Brotherhood used “intimidation” to bolster the “yes” vote. He predicts that if the new charter is adopted, it “is likely to take the country into some sort of paralysis or civil disobedience.”