Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Egypt votes on new charter as army chief eyes presidency

14 January 2014, 07:42

Cairo - Egyptians vote for a new constitution Tuesday in a referendum seen as a test of support for a presidential bid by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, almost seven months after he toppled Mohamed Morsi.

An Islamist coalition led by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has called for a boycott and "civilised peaceful protests" during the two-day referendum, but the interior ministry has pledged to "decisively" confront any attempts to disrupt voting.

The military-installed government hopes the vote, the first since Morsi's overthrow in July, will shore up its disputed authority after a brutal crackdown on Morsi's Islamist supporters, who have denounced the "sham referendum".

While it is uncertain how many Egyptians will vote amid concern over violence and militant attacks, the constitution appears certain to pass.

It has done away with much of the Islamist-inspired wording of Morsi's constitution, which was suspended on his overthrow, and its supporters say it expands women's rights and freedom of speech.

But it has bolstered the military's powers, granting the army the right to appoint the defence minister for the next eight years and to try civilians for attacks on the armed forces.

Interim president Adly Mansour implored Egyptians to turn out at the polls, which will be secured by hundreds of thousands of soldiers and policemen across the country.

"I call on you to live up to the responsibility you owe to your nation and to ensure a better future for this country to go to your polling station and vote," he said in a speech on Sunday.

The runup to the vote has been marred by a deadly crackdown on Morsi's supporters, and arrests of activists who campaigned for a "No" vote.

At least seven activists have been detained in the past week while distributing posters or leaflets critical of the new constitution, prominent rights lawyer Ragia Omran told AFP, adding most were released after a few days.

The capital, meanwhile, has been festooned with banners urging Egyptians to vote "Yes", often featuring military motifs such as a general's hat, an allusion to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Many Islamists revile Sisi as the man who overthrew the country's first freely elected and civilian president, but the general is adored by the millions who took to the streets in July to demand Morsi's resignation.

The army chief is widely expected to run for president, and has said he would stand for election if he felt there was "popular demand", state media reported this week.

Sisi will closely monitor the turnout and result of the referendum as an "indicator" of support for a presidential bid, said an official close to the general.

The authorities are worried that a low turnout would empower their Islamist opponents in Morsi's Brotherhood movement and cast further doubt on their legitimacy, analysts say.

At least 1,000 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in street clashes and thousands have been imprisoned since Morsi's ouster. His supporters continue protests almost every day.


Tags egypt

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...