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Egypt orders probe into alleged vote irregularities amid protests

English.news.cn   2012-12-19 13:39:31            
 Egypt ordered a probe into alleged irregularities during the first stage of a constitutional referendum.
 • Protesters marched Tuesday to mount pressure onMorsiover passage of draft constitution.
 • After release of initial results, opposition claimed widespread irregularities and demanded a revote.


CAIRO, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Egypt has ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities during the first set of a constitutional referendum, as opposition rallied against the contentious draft constitution which they say is too Islamist and ignore minorities' rights.

The Egyptian Justice Ministry on Tuesday assigned judges to investigate Saturday's voting process upon the request of the Higher Commission for Elections, which demanded a probe into "the electoral crimes that took place during the referendum."

Saturday's voting in 10 of Egypt's 27 provinces, including Cairo and Alexandria, has garnered 56.5 percent "yes" votes to the proposed charters backed by President Mohammed Morsi.

The second round of balloting, to be held in regions widely seen as sympathetic toward the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, is likely to grant another approval to the newly written charter, a new flashpoint of violence in recent weeks.

Thousands of protesters marched Tuesday to the presidential palace and Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square to mount pressure on Morsi over the passage of the draft constitution. But the scale was not as large as previous demonstrations.

The National Salvation Front opposition coalition said that the charter, written by an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly, serves only Morsi and his supporters, and tramples on the rights of minorities.

After the release of the initial results, the coalition has claimed widespread irregularities and demanded a revote.

"The violations include duplication of voting cards, vote buying, deliberate delay of opening polling stations and attempts to affect the will of voters before casting their votes," Amr Hamzawy, a leading member of the National Salvation Front, told Xinhua.

Proponents of the basic law denied the fraud claims, saying they are groundless and politically motivated.

The balloting was based on the voters' national identity number that was impossible to be duplicated and was held under full judicial supervision, Mahmoud Abou Shoosha, a member of Egypt's Supreme Election Commission, told a press conference Tuesday.

The recent unrest surrounding the constitution has revealed a deeply polarized society, where two camps -- one led by Islamists including Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group and conservative Salafis, and the other composing of liberal and left-leaning political parties and Christians groups, as well as Muslims who are skeptical of the Brotherhood, divide over the identity of the country.

Supporters insisted that the draft constitution, once adopted, will give a clear mandate to the government and bring order to the country mired in protests and unrest since the ouster of ex-president Hosni Mubarak.

"It (the draft constitution) will establish the country's three authorities -- the executive, the legislative and the judicial," Muslim Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"The president's powers and authorities will be limited to those in the constitution, which are much less than his powers today," he said.

Opposition boycotted the draft constitution out of fears that some of its clauses may steer the country toward a religious state and hamper civil rights.

Also on Tuesday, the Egyptian presidency announced that the fourth round of national dialogue between the presidency and national forces will be postponed till Wednesday, saying that the legal committee is still preparing the agenda of the dialogue.

Earlier this month, Morsi invited opposition and national forces for national dialogue to reach agreement on disputed issues, including a prior constitutional declaration and the referendum on the draft constitution, but the offer was turned down by the National Salvation Front.


Egypt's election panel refutes violation claims in constitution referendum

CAIRO, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's Supreme Election Commission regarded the claims of fraud and violation in the constitution referendum raised by opposition as baseless and non-objective, Counselor Mahmoud Abou Shoosha, a commission member, told reporters during a press conference Tuesday.

Condemning violation and fraud claims as "lies," Abou Shoosha said that the voting was based on the voters' national ID number that was impossible to be duplicated and that the referendum was held under full judicial supervision.   Full story

Editor: Luan
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