UK & World News

  • 26 December 2012, 9:25

Egypt Constitution In Effect After 'Yes' Vote

Egyptian voters overwhelmingly approved a constitution drafted by allies of President Mohamed Morsi, despite opposition from liberals, leftists and Christians.

The constitution was adopted with 63.8% of the vote after the referendum held over two days earlier in the month, according to results announced by the elections commission.

However, the final turnout was just 32.9% of Egypt's nearly 52 million voters.

Opposition groups staged mass protests against the draft, complaining that the new constitution could allow Muslim clerics to intervene in the making of legislation, while leaving other religions and women with few protections.

But Mr Morsi and the dominant Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement have insisted that the document provides adequate protection for minorities while providing stability following the uprising that forced former President Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011.

The President signed a decree putting the constitution into affect shortly after the official results.

Murad Ali, a senior official in Mr Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party, said: "I hope all national powers will now start working together now to build a new Egypt.  

"I see this as the best constitution in Egypt's history."

Immediately after the announcement, a small group of protesters set tyres on fire and blocked traffic near the central Tahrir square, the hub of the uprising against Mubarak.

New parliamentary elections are expected to take place in the coming months with the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies again expected to dominate.

Meanwhile, in a possible sign of the impact that weeks of unrest have taken on the economy, the government ordered new restrictions on foreign currency apparently designed to prevent capital flight. Leaving or entering with more than $10,000 cash is now banned.

The government has criticised the opposition for prolonging the country's economic problems with the weeks of demonstrations against them.

"The main goals that the government is working towards now is plugging the budget deficit, and working on increasing growth to boost employment rates, curb inflation, and increase the competitiveness of Egyptian exports," prime minister Hisham Kandil said.

Advertisement