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New Sharia-based constitution for Egypt approved

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 24th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The ruling Muslim Brotherhood party in Egypt has declared that the new Sharia-based constitution has been approved in a second round of voting. Egypt's main opposition party the National Salvation Front, or NSF has since leveled accusations of election fraud, saying it will appeal the referendum results and form a new party.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Approved by 64 percent of Egyptian voters in a "resounding victory," the preliminary tallies were calculated from reports by polling station officials.

NSF members allege that there were multiple instances of "fraud and violations" during the voting process. "The referendum is not the end of the road. It is only one battle," NSF's Abdel Ghaffer Shokr says.

According to Mohamed Abul-Ghar, the head of Egypt's Social Democratic party, the NSF will continue the struggle by joining forces and forming a new party on the basis of the National Salvation Front.

The NSF has demanded that a proper investigation into election fraud allegations needs to be made.

"We stand firm with the idea that we are against any results being officially announced before the High Committee for Election to announce its final verdict on the evidence we have submitted of widespread rigging and corruption of the ballot boxes," Ahmed Hawary, a member of the opposition party al-Dostour says.

Hawary went on to describe some cases of Muslim Brotherhood supporters shutting of the power and closing polling stations where the electorate did not favor the new constitution.

"They've seen a number of instances of possible vote rigging, including unsupervised polling stations, missing ballot papers, stuffed ballot boxes," journalist Bel Trew says. There were also reports of Salafist groups at polling stations coercing people into voting "yes" on the new document.

The NSF remains fiercely opposed to the new constitution, which was authored up by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly. Opposition activists argue that the charter, based on Sharia law, is an affront to the values of the revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak last year. They also say that the new constitution marginalizes Egypt's social and religious minority groups.

In the meantime, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party - the party with which new Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi belongs to -- maintains that the constitution is necessary for Egypt's transition to democracy and stability, and that the document's approval will allow parliamentary elections to take place in three months.

Prior to the election, Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekki announced his resignation, saying that the "nature of politics" did not favor his professional background. There is speculation that his resignation is linked to the fact that there is no vice presidency under the new constitution.


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