Egypt

Egyptians Vote in Referendum on a New Constitution

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Credit: Jonathan Rashad/wikimedia

Egyptians are voting today and tomorrow on a new constitution which bans political parties based on "religion, race, gender or geography" such as the Muslim Brotherhood and strengthens the military and the police. The constitution also guarantees equality between the sexes and establishes Islam as the state religion.

Read the draft constitution here

Unsurprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs ousted President Morsi, is calling for a boycott of the vote.

According to the BBC, five people have been killed in clashes and there was an explosion in Cairo, although no one was reported injured or killed in that incident. 

As Reuters explains, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to announce his candidacy for president in an upcoming election, which could take place in April:

The referendum is a milestone in the political transition plan the army-backed government has billed as a path back to democracy even as it presses a fierce crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's best organized party until last year.

A presidential election could follow as early as April.

Echoing a view widely held in Egypt, a senior European diplomat said Sisi would probably announce his candidacy in the next few days—a prospect that will delight supporters but could stir more conflict with his Islamist opponents.

Read Reason's Ed Krayewski's article "Egypt Should Adopt the U.S. Constitution As Its Model" here.

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  1. We should just give them ours–it’s not like we’re using it!

    1. I like the suggestion from L. Neil Smith: any country that ratifies the Bill of Rights can apply to become the 51st US State. The official religion bit would have to go, along with banning freedom of association.

  2. The constitution also guarantees equality between the sexes and establishes Islam as the state religion.

    Seems legit.

    1. Separation of church and Shaitan.

    2. This country is a disaster.

  3. Wow, 69 pages. That’s a lot of constitution.

    It’s interesting how rare it is that countries adopt the U.S. Constitution or even our basic political structure. You know, separate branches for the judiciary, executive, and legislatures. Instead, most go with something parliamentary and these long, mostly superlegislation constitutions. Despite the success and relatively stability of the U.S. system.

    I figure it’s because the U.S. system, on paper at least, is about limiting government. Very, very, very few leaders want that.

    1. Judiciaries in other countries might take that statement about: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people too literally.

      1. Nah, even we didn’t do that.

    2. US state constitutions can be just as bad. For a while, the Constitution of Maryland had to be amended whenever a county wanted to change its county council from at-large to election by district.

      1. I interpret this as a ‘tie their hands’ philosophy. What’s bad about that?

    3. Wow, 69 pages. That’s a lot of constitution.

      Welcome to the modern world. Enumerated powers are so 1787.

  4. …bans political parties based on “religion, race, gender or geography”

    (…)

    …and establishes Islam as the state religion.

    LMAO!

    1. Apparently they have to pass it to find out what’s in it. We got a serious case of Pelosiitis here.

      1. You can’t expect them to read the whole Constitution before signing it, can you?

  5. … General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi …

    No, you’re a fat sissy!

  6. The state commits to achieving social justice, providing the means to achieve social solidarity to ensure a decent life for all citizens, in the manner organized by law.

    Free stuff!

    There can be no forced labor except in accordance with the law and for the purpose of performing a public service for a defined period of time and in return for a fair wage, without prejudice to the basic rights of those assigned to the work.

    There can be no forced labor except when there is.

    Every citizen is entitled to health and to comprehensive health care with quality criteria.

    More free stuff!

    1. Newspapers may be issued once notification is given as regulated by law. The law shall regulate ownership and establishment procedures for visual and radio broadcast stations in addition to online newspapers.

      I’ll just leave this one here without comment.

      1. I think that means freedom of the press, for licensed journalists only, just like in the US.

    2. The state guarantees citizens the right to decent, safe and healthy housing, in a way that preserves human dignity and achieves social justice.

      Each citizen has the right to healthy, sufficient amounts of food and clean water. The state shall provide food resources to all citizens.

      And you thought I was just baselessly snarking when I said stuff like this.

      1. So when all these fantasies fail to materialize, the citizens can throw out this government and install a new one… Right?

      2. Are you quoting the new Egyptian Constitution or a power-hungry socialist’s wet dream?

        1. It’s the Seattle City Council charter. Sheesh.

    3. Holy Semiramis, there’s even an article on sports.

      1. The mighty Egyptian Republic shall provide world class training facilities and equipment to promote healthy physical activity and to field competitive international teams in all Olympic sports?

    4. This is why I do not support a Constitutional Convention in the states.

      I’m afraid the result would be a long list of positive rights, from healthcare to housing, all guaranteed by the government.

      IOW the official end of what little liberty is left.

      1. It would be a shitfest.

        1. On the plus side, we might get a guaranteed income and then could sit on the Internet all day and comment on stuff.

      2. I don’t think any new positive rights could get the required vote. Frankly, I doubt anything would come out of a Constitutional Convention at all. The nation seems to be sufficiently divided.

        And even if something did come out, it would have to be ratified by 3/4 of the states, which is hard to do (if the proposed amendment has a sunset clause, like it should.)

        I’m not afraid of a convention. I’m not asking for one either. Our problems can only be fixed by the electorate, which means we’re doomed. DOOMED.

        1. well, we could decide to disband and join other families.

      3. A long list of privileges that you’ll enjoy from behind the barbed wire.

    5. providing the means to achieve social solidarity to ensure a decent life for all citizens

      Define “social solidarity.” I’m pretty sure some people’s definition would be quite different from others. For example a white supremacist or islamic fundamentalist’s idea of “social solidarity” might not be such a good thing to most people.

      Same thing goes for the definition of “a decent life.” Such imprecise language in a document that creates an entity with the legal monopoly on force can’t end well.

  7. Unsurprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs ousted President Morsi, is calling for a boycott of the vote.

    So let me get this straight. They don’t like the proposed new consitution, so they’re trying to get their supporters to refuse to participate in the vote? How’s that supposed to work? These guys really don’t understand how the whole democracy thing works, do they.

    1. They understand how Democracy works in Egypt.

      1. Lemme guess: refuse to participate in the vote and then throw a screaming hissy fit and blow shit up when things don’t go your way?

        1. Or win an election fair and square and get thrown out by the army.

  8. Egyptians are voting today and tomorrow on a new constitution which bans political parties based on “religion, race, gender or geography”

    Let Freedom Ring baby!

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