Egyptians Vote on Draft Constitution
Egyptians began two days of voting Tuesday on a new draft constitution that deals a heavy blow to the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign for the reinstatement of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and paves the way for a likely presidential run by the nation’s top general, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. A comfortable “yes” vote and a respectable turnout would bestow legitimacy on the overthrow of the nation’s Islamist president in a popularly backed coup last July.
In the days running up to the vote, hundreds of thousands of fliers, posters, banners and billboards exhorted Egyptians to vote “yes.” Posters – and campaigns – urging a “no” vote have led to arrests.
The new charter, drafted by a liberal-dominated committee appointed by the military-backed government, would ban political parties based on religion, give women equal rights and protect the status of minority Christians. It also allows the military to select its own candidate for defense minister for the next eight years and empowers it to bring civilians before military tribunals. (AP-Washington Post)