Egypt Opposition Alleges Fraud in Referendum

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 23 2012 12:13 PM

Egyptian Opposition Alleges Fraud in Constitution Referendum

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Egyptian men cast their ballots during the second round of a referendum on a new draft constitution in Giza, south of Cairo

Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

As Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood celebrated an unofficial tally that showed 64 percent of voters backed a controversial Islamist-backed constitution in two rounds of voting that ended Saturday, the opposition called for an investigation into allegations of voter fraud, reports the Associated Press. If nothing else, the quick claim to victory and the just-as-quick claims that it was the result of fraud appear to be a clear indication that the two-stage referendum that ended Saturday will result in further tensions in Egypt. The official results are not expected until Monday, but there is little doubt the Islamists won. An opposition official confirms to Reuters their unofficial count also shows the “yes” vote winning. Assuming the referendum passes, the government will have to hold parliamentary election within 60 days.

Members of the opposition are emphasizing that a low turnout of around 30 percent of voters will allow them to continue pressuring President Mohammed Morsi. Meanwhile, the main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, has vowed to form a single party to provide a credible challenge to the Islamists. But first, the opposition claims to be determined to contest the results of the referendum. "We're going to challenge this in the courts, we're going to challenge this in the streets, we're going to challenge this until we die, because we cannot recognize this wide attempt to steal the people's future," Ahmed Hawary, a spokesperson for the NSF, told Al Jazeera. The New York Times points out that how the Islamists and the opposition manage the tensions that will inevitably arise after the vote “will determine whether Egypt returns to stability or plunges further into discord."

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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