Cairo ( AsiaNews) - Hundreds of Egyptians are already lining up in long queues in front of polling stations to vote on the new constitution that replaces the one drafted under the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, passed a few months before his deposition following a popular revolt.
A bomb exploded in front of a
court in Cairo, home to a polling station, but the incident does not seem to have
stopped the voting.
The Interior Ministry has deployed 200 thousand police officers, in addition to security personnel and emergency units, to ensure a smooth voting process that will last for two days.
The military and the army chief , Gen. Abdel Fattah al- Sisi, is hoping for an overwhelming majority "yes" vote, which would be read as an endorsement of their work in ousting Morsi from power. The Muslim Brotherhood, now branded as a terrorist group, has called for a boycott.
To ensure the greatest number of
"yes" votes, state media have launched a major advertising campaign,
while the police have arrested those who supported the "no". These
include not only the Muslim Brotherhood, but also secular personalities, who
fought to oust Hosni Mubarak, refused Morsi's Islamism and now fear a military
The old constitution, passed a year ago, betrayed many of the ideals of the Arab Spring , aspired to sharia and put power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood . It was passed with over 60% of the vote, even though only 32.9% of the population had voted.
new constitution introduces improvements: Islam remains the inspiration of the
law and society, but it guarantees religious freedom to minorities. It
gives a lot of power to the military, however, and does not clarify the way in
which the rights of minorities and women are established.
In recent days there have been rumors in support of the candidacy of Al- Sisi as president. He is seen as the guarantor of order capable of containing radical Islamism, which last year caused heavy economic losses and a steep drop in tourism. In all likelihood, a wave of "yes" votes in the referendum could push the general to stand in presidential elections. Such a move would displease the Muslim Brotherhood, but also many secular activists of the Arab Spring , who hope for a more democratic Egypt .