World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood claimed on Sunday that a recent referendum on a revised version of the 2012 suspended constitution was "rigged."
"The current regime cannot afford to hold a fair vote because they now that its result would show popular opposition to their bloody coup," the Brotherhood said in a statement, referring to the army's July 3 ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.
Egypt's High Election Commission announced on Saturday that 38.6 percent of eligible voters, estimated at around 53 million, had cast their ballot in last week's two-day referendum.
It said 98.1 percent of the voters approved the constitution.
The Brotherhood cast doubts on the official figures.
It said that although none of the nation's political forces had boycotted the 2012 constitutional referendum, only 32.9 percent of the electorate had voted.
"Now they want to convince people that 38.6 percent of the voters had cast their ballot amid nationwide boycott calls," added the Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood boycotted the referendum along with the pro-democracy National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, which backs Morsi.
"Pro-coup newspapers claimed that 4,000 Egyptian expatriates in Japan had voted in the referendum, where in fact there are only 423 registered voters in Japan and only 34 of them had cast their ballot," said the statement.
The Brotherhood said the referendum results would not give legitimacy to the current army-installed regime.
It insisted that stability would only come with justice, freedom and dignity.
Egyptian president happy with vote, mum on elections
Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour congratulated the Egyptian people late Sunday on a successful constitutional referendum, but remained mum on whether Egypt would first hold presidential or parliamentary elections.
"Voting for a new constitution was not only an objective in itself, but also a means for more future steps," Mansour said in a televised address to the nation.
"You made the right choice in the first step [approving the new charter' and I'm confident you would do the same in the next two steps," Mansour said, referring to parliamentary and presidential elections.
But the interim president did not clarify which elections would be held first.
Under the transitional roadmap imposed by the army following its ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi in July, parliamentary elections should be held after the new constitution had been endorse, followed by presidential polls.
But calls had intensified in recent weeks to start with presidential elections, amid expectations that Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the man seen as the main architect behind Morsi's ouster, would run for president.
EU: "Egypt should organize elections as quickly as possible"
The EU’s Foreign Relations Chief Catherine Ashton said on Sunday that she hopes the new constitution would help the implementation of democracy in Egypt.
Congratulating the Egyptian people and the authorities responsible for organizing the vote ‘in a largely orderly manner’, the high representative said the EU is not in a position to make a thorough assessment of the conduct of the referendum.
“These do not appear to have fundamentally affected the outcome,” Ashton said.
Remarking her strong regret on the violation related to the referendum, Ashton said, “I also note that there is an ample majority of votes in favour.”
Emphasizing that all existing and future legislations would have to be in compliance with the new constitution, Ashton said she trusts the authorities would move forward with the constitutional roadmap and organize elections as quickly as possible, leading to a fair representation of different political views in the future parliament.
US delegation congratulates Sisi
Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met on Sunday with a visiting US Congressional delegation, who congratulated him on the success of a recent referendum on a revised version of the 2012 constitution, according to the Egyptian army spokesman.
In a statement, Colonel Ahmed Ali quoted the members of the Congressional delegation as saying that the referendum ushered in a new phase in Egypt's democratic transformation by empowering the people to express their will in an atmosphere of freedom and democracy.
He said the two sides also discussed the latest developments on the regional and international stages.
"The members of the delegation underlined their keenness on reporting the realities in Egypt to the Congress, reiterating support for the measures taken by the Egyptian government to restore security and stability," added the spokesman.Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2014, 09:59