A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, December 17, 2012

What did Round One Mean?

The first round of Egypt's Constitutional referendum, it seems to me, accomplished little other than to confirm that the country is deeply divided, and that the proposed Constitution is dividing it further.  Some reports suggest that people voted "yes" or "no" based on the impressions gained from the media rather than from reading the text itself, but Cairo reportedly voted decisively atainst the charter, wh8le overall the document was approved by about 56% of those voting in half the country's governorates. Expatriate votes are now being counted; the remaining governorates vote Saturday.

Whatever the final results, the fact that the capital voted against and that only a relatively narro majority support the Constitution so far guarantees that the divisions in the country have been exacerbated by the way President Morsi has forced it through. (Khaled Fahmy's piece in Ahram Online expresses his own disillusionment with Morsi and the Brotherhood.) (Also see Khalil Anani here.) Ironically the new prosecutor recently named by Morsi (overriding the judiciary) has now resigned.

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