As Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi prepares to give a speech to his people today, most Egyptians are hoping to see their livelihoods improve and their basic human needs met. Those are the real majority who didn’t bother to go to the polls last week. With a little above 30 percent of voters turning out and amidst multiple serious allegations of fraud, the official vote count for the country’s new Constitution was announced as passing by 64 percent. Political opposition, united under the National Salvation Front, considers the result a reasonable victory in its first serious attempt at mobilizing supporters against an Islamized constitution and country. They’ve vowed to continue to oppose all measures taken by the current leadership and contest the results of the latest referendum.
The political charade of the polls is becoming more questionable as the results continue to display a great divide among constituents and, more alarmingly, a continuous decrease in the numbers of voters.
Only 32 percent showed up to cast their votes in the constitutional referendum. It is obvious with the latest round of political struggle that more of the population is losing faith in the ability of its political leaders to lead Egypt toward any kind of stability. In the meantime, the state of the country’s economy is alarming many and expectations that a severe financial crisis is eminent as the political fight for power overshadows the inability to manage the economic affairs of the country.
With the approval of the Constitution, President Mursi was quick to relinquish his all legislative powers to the “Shura” council, the house whose representatives were voted in by a mere 6 percent, as most Egyptians were set on abolishing it with new Constitution. President Mursi, claimed it was the only democratically elected representative body in the country and appointed 90 more members to the council. He will address it today and is allegedly also retaking his official oath as president under the new Constitution. Suffice to say the house is contested by Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court and is now expected to face major changes. Other changes in the government are expected to follow.
One thing is clear, with all the confused and hurried moves to consolidate power; President Mursi does not seem to have gained more supporters. On the contrary, the latest votes on the Constitution indicate more and more Egyptians are choosing to disengage. The road is still long and winding and the opposition is determined to stand united and strong. This was not the last battle, for Egyptians will soon be asked to go to the polls once more to elect their Parliament representatives. According to the contested Constitution, Egypt’s new Parliament will become the country’s true ruler and the voice of its people. The political marathon that has brought Egypt this far might have finally reach the finish line had it not been for a political process that feeds on competition and not cooperation. The country stands polarized and braised for more confrontation. Egyptians are apprehensive as they step into another New Year and celebrate shortly the second anniversary of the Jan. 25, 2013 revolution.
Hala ElKholy is columnist at the Hurriyet Daily News, where this article was published on Dec. 29, 2012.