Egypt referendum: President Morsi backers urge unity


Egyptians on the streets of Cairo have voiced their anger, as the BBC's Joanne de Frias reports

Backers of President Mohammed Morsi have urged all Egyptians to work together after the adoption of a controversial new constitution.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie said Egyptians should "begin building our country's rebirth with free will... men, women, Muslims and Christians".

More than 60% of voters backed the constitution in a referendum, although only a third of the electorate voted.

Critics say the document favours Islamists and betrays the revolution.

President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in February 2011 after nearly 30 years of authoritarian rule.

After the referendum result was announced on Tuesday, dozens of anti-constitution protesters blocked one of the main bridges in the capital Cairo, setting tyres alight and stopping traffic.

Egypt referendum result

  • Votes for constitution 10,693,911 (63.8%)
  • Votes against 6,061,101 (36.2%)
  • Turnout 32.9% (17,058,317 votes including 303,395 declared invalid)

Source: Egyptian election commission

Parliamentary elections must now take place within two months.

The political divisions surrounding the referendum have led to economic uncertainty and a reported rush to buy US dollars.

Currency exchanges in parts of Cairo were said to have run out of dollars. Before the result was announced, the authorities declared a limit of $10,000 (£6,200) for travellers into and out of Egypt.

On Monday, Egypt's central bank issued a statement saying that the banks had "stable liquidity" to safeguard all deposits.

The BBC's Bethany Bell in Cairo says President Morsi's government will soon have to take some unpopular measures to prop up the economy, which could hurt his party at the ballot box.

'Special responsibility'

On Tuesday, Mr Badie welcomed the referendum's results, tweeting: "Congratulations to the Egyptian people on approving the constitution of revolutionary Egypt".

Echoing his words, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil stressed that there was "no loser" in the vote and called for co-operation with the government to restore the economy.

Constitution at a glance

  • Sharia remains the main source of legislation
  • Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's leading authority, to be consulted on "matters related to Sharia"
  • Christianity and Judaism to be the main source of legislation for Christians and Jews
  • Right to beliefs protected; state's obligations limited to Islam, Christianity and Judaism
  • Limits president to two four-year terms of office

President Morsi's mainly Islamist supporters say that the new constitution will secure democracy and encourage stability.

But opponents accuse the president, who belongs to the Brotherhood, of pushing through a text that favours Islamists and does not sufficiently protect the rights of women or Christians, who make up about 10% of the population.

The US state department responded to the vote by urging all sides in Egypt to commit themselves "to engage in an inclusive process to negotiate their differences".

In a direct appeal to President Mohammed Morsi, spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that as democratically elected leader he had a "special responsibility... to bridge divisions, build trust and broaden support for the political process".

Turnout was 32.9% of Egypt's total of 52 million voters, election commission President Samir Abul Maati told a news conference in Cairo.

Mr Maati rejected opposition allegations that fake judges supervised some of the polling - one of several complaints relating to voting fraud made by the opposition National Salvation Front after each stage of voting.

Egypt has recently seen large demonstrations by both critics and supporters of the constitution, which have occasionally turned violent.

Before the first round of voting on 15 December, the opposition considered boycotting the referendum before deciding to back a No vote.

Polling had to be held on two days because of a lack of judges prepared to supervise the process.


More on This Story

Egypt transition


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    ref #83 The Moslem Brotherhood support Hamas and Hezbollah that make them unaceptible to run a country in a civilized world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    This was a fradulent vote and process.

    No surprise islamist ar euntrustworthy when it come to the Democratic process.

    Egypt was better off with Murburak.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    So Morsi's Islamic fundamentalist backers are urging all Egyptians to unify under their banner. This reminds me of what the Nazis called "Gleichschaltung".

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    The test of a Government and Constitution lies in how minorities are treated.
    Will the Copts be able to live in peace, and freely practice their religion in the future as they did before the revolution? Is that anchored in the Constitution?
    If not, the Constitution does not represent the people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    Egypt is deffo off my holiday list now

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Also, should note that in the early days of Islam what it brought was literally hundreds of years ahead of other parts of the world & europe. Women were given rights to divorce, to own property and businesses,
    when they married their property was not passed to the man etc (some rights were relatively recent in Britain).
    Sadly many muslim lands ARE well behind now, & they need to catch up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    113. KMT

    Probably best to read the whole thing, as well as corresponding sources/information. Best not to go to an extremist group or preacher for their interpretation, but someone moderate, balanced and progressive.
    Marmaduke Pickthall translation seems reasonable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    122. sieuarlu 11 Minutes ago ..."Fundamentalist Sharia Islam is not compatible with modern concepts of democracy or human rights.Those who practice or try to impose it are doomed."--------------------------The irony is that Egypt was one of he countries that voted for the UNGA's Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948...along with Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    Egypt is setting itself up to become a Sunni Iran but with no oil.Who will it go to war with first, Iran or Israel? How will it finance a military once the US sees where it is headed and pulls out all funding and isolates it the way it did Iran? Fundamentalist Sharia Islam is not compatible with modern concepts of democracy or human rights.Those who practice or try to impose it are doomed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    119. djranger 12 Minutes ago "....the Muslim Brotherhood is organized and eager to fill the void. And they love it when you do their dirty work for them."---------------------

    And with a 6.4 billion Euro bailout from the EU Commission.It's about time that Catherine Ashton,who favours tyrants over democrats,is given her marching orders

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    Why all the hysteria over the Muslim Brotherhood? They are Egyptians also with a right to their view as to the kind of Egypt they want, but everybody wants things to their own satisfaction. Some demand a purely secular state but here's news: Witness the US 2012 election Bible-thumping conservatives who claimed Obama was the Devil Anti-Christ. Whose US? Whose Egypt?

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    So much for the 'Freedom and Justice Party'. Unfortunately, the people of Egypt got what they voted for - an Islamist state. The next time the world thinks it a good idea to remove a secular dictator in a middle-eastern country, just remember, the Muslim Brotherhood is organized and eager to fill the void. And they love it when you do their dirty work for them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    This is another hijacked revolution and the situation won't be recovered until the real revolutionaries get their act together.Boycotting elections and referenda is a bad mistake.The new election is another chance.If the Muslim Brotherhood can be ousted the constitution can be reformed to make it secular and inclusive.That should be the motivation to go for it hard instead of surrendering.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    113. KMT ""clearly defines women as inferior to men"

    All religions and all societies have throughout history clearly defined women as inferior to men. Most, including our own, still do so in many respects. This does not compare with how, for example, the Taliban misrepresent Islam and treat women like garbage. They do not want to be treated as equal - they want to be treated as human beings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Since the CURRENT TURBULANCES within the Globe is more due to misunderstanding of Religion than any other factor;it would have been how nice if we show an exact path to the entire through impating of rightful knowledge,establishing a CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE within the Country for this particular purpose;which shall help the entire to walk clean into the future with mind free from all bondages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    I think Egyptians should build up the Country. Leave differences behind. Improve education and healthcare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    When we are in the middle of a path,confusion always confronted us to doubt whether or not we are correct but when one is firm with enough of LOVE to the entire,the entity shall cover the rest with ease but Power always currupts one to make mistakes often to undo such efforts.To remain as one,all can never be equal but none should ever forced to shed his or her dignity to remain as human being.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    @Giovanna #109 , based on your comments you probably don't read Arabic hence have never read the Quran; that being said, I suggest you take a look at interpretation of the following verses that clearly defines women as inferior to men in the Quran: 2:223 - 2:228 - 2:282 - 4:3 - 4:11 - 4:24 - 4:129 - 4:34 - 65:1, 4; Peace...

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    I suspect that many national leaders and regimes posing as very religious are cynically bending it for their own benefit. It is the ignorant mugs of the general population, brainwashed from birth, that martyr themselves. You don't hear of many "leader's" or imam's children blowing themselves up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    @Dave #95
    This in your own words is one of the endemic problems in the muslim world the inability to tolerate an outcome voted on by a majority. Ok it was not a election but a referendum almost the same thing since the outcome backs Morsi. Moreover there has been enough of doomsday prophesies simply because a Islamic party wins this is what Israel hopes for to create fear to its advantage.


Page 1 of 7


More Middle East stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.