As Egypt Builds Democracy, Ohio Representative Foley Helps With Election
In addition, it states that political parties cannot be founded based on gender, race, religious sect and geography. The charter also extends more autonomy to the military, police and judiciary.
Rep. Foley said that aside from awarding the military some “problematic” power in appointing representatives, most of the constitution appears to ensure a fair democracy that fosters equality.
The vote marks the first unified step to build a democracy in Egypt since General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi led the country’s military and civilians into the streets of Cairo in protest of the former president, whom the military ousted last summer.
Although the recent ballot focused solely on conceding or rejecting the constitution’s ratification, Egyptians took the opportunity to rally in support for Sisi’s presidential bid at polling places across Cairo. Although his declaration is much anticipated, Sisi has yet to formally confirm his plan to run.
“Some guy [at the polls] started pushing me, saying ‘We are all supporting Sisi!’” Foley said as he described the scene. “He insisted I knew and that he said it in front of this huge crowd.”
Not all Egyptians joined in celebration during January’s voting days. Morsis’s political party, The Muslim Brotherhood, called for supporters to boycott the voting booths, despite the military’s recent classification of the party as a “terrorist group”
However, those in opposition to the new constitution had little control over the electoral outcome. Security forces repressed public opinion, turning to unnecessary violence as they arrested and shot protesters. Other dissenters could not combat the high number of proponents who turned out to vote.
“Even if they campaigned and got their voices heard, this wouldn’t have changed the results,” said Abul-Magd of the constitution’s opponents. “How many ‘no’ voters could it have gotten, 5 million?”
People against the constitution launched violent attacks directed at citizens headed to the polls days before voting began, but Abul-Magd said they did not disrupt the process. The morning of the first voting day, Foley received notice that officials disarmed a bomb right near his location. “That made me pretty nervous,” he said.
Egypt plans to hold its presidential election before parliamentary votes in the upcoming months, reversing the initial timetable drawn by the military. The new schedule could provide Sisi a swift election, according to a Reuters report released on Jan. 26.