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Egyptian constitution approval is valid, legally
The low turnout could be considered as pre-segmentation between Islamists and secularists. The draft constitution was approved by majority and is perfectly legal as per international laws.

EGYPTIAN VOTERS approved the controversial draft constitution by a majority with 63.8% voting yes of the total ballot cast. Only thing is that mere 33% voted among the eligible voters in the referendum. One can say that since only around 21% of the eligible voters voted yes that is why it is not a valid vote, legally speaking. But this is not the case.


Mr. Morsi won Presidential election by around 52% votes and he has not done anything to increase his approval ratings. But equally he has not done much to decrease his popularity. If Presidential election were any guide then both Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition were almost equally positioned with a slight lead for Mr. Morsi’s party, Freedom and Justice Party. But in fact Mr. Morsi should have had lead over his rivals because of the Islamist nature of the constitution.

If both have approximately same strength and Mr. Morsi got meager 21% of the total votes, then why did not opposition voted in full strength to reject the vote? Similarly, why did Mr. Morsi’s supporters voted in such a small fraction? If opposition got 12% of the total adult votes then Mr. Morsi’s supporters could have voted overwhelmingly to vote yes for the Islamist constitution. The fact is that if one party had voted heavily then other would also have voted equally heavily. Sure, on the Election Day it was not possible but things were pre-segmented before the election. But the results would have the same; approval of the draft constitution by majority. Divisions and bitterness among Egyptians would have been higher.

Many can say that voting fatigue and stalling tactics were the reasons for the low turnout. But these reasons could not deter more than 10% of the voters as a determining constitution was very critical to Egyptians’ lives, taking into account that generally not more than 70% people vote even in the West. This accounts for almost 40% not voting. Mr. Morsi should have support of almost 50% of the population on the constitution, not all would have voted for him though. The opposition should have around 30% of the popular support, again not all of them voting for it. These when combined with this disinterested voters account for 90% of the eligible voters’ actual opinion. Now almost 10% were floating voters. If it is assumed that disinterested and floating voters were almost equally divided between Islamists and secularist and both sides’ voters were equally disinterested in not voting then Mr. Morsi would get 60% of the votes and the opposition almost 40% of the votes and that is the almost the result.   

The fact is that voting was highly pre-segmented with both sides knowing the result. They did it for Egypt and for the Islam; both global and Egyptian. While divide between Islamist and secularists is well known, the outside world should not misinterpret the words. While secularists oppose imposition of Shariah they are also Muslims. Secularism is a borrowed word in Egypt and one should not consider it in the sense the West and other liberal democracies use it. If secularists use it in that sense then they do not understand law properly. There is nothing called converging global opinion and laws should be local in nature though there is a commonality too among the humans on earth because of commonality in evolutions.

The fact is that there is nothing wrong in applying Shariah as long as the minorities are not judged by them and they have freedom to practice their religion. There is nothing wrong in giving the judgment power over Shariah to Al Azhar as well. Only thing is that things should be quantified properly. As much as it is practical considering the overall situation! While Egyptian society should be welcomed as an Islamic society, economic lives should also matter to Egyptians as well.

They should look for economic opportunities and should create institutions and infrastructure not only for themselves but for other Arabs as well. Egyptians should understand that they can not interpret Shariah as it is being interpreted in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Islam is good for Saudis and all of them can not be good for Egyptians. They should have flexibility in dealing with urgent family, social, political and economic issues. They should promote flexibility and liberalism and should not become absolute Islamic state in religious sense. Not only Egyptian laws should permit Abrahamic religions to flourish, they should also permit others, particularly Shiites, to practice their religions.

The West should accept the Egyptian constitution verdict and should not apply its standards of voting to judge Egyptian referendum. Once the democracy is established one can not regret its result. The same is true for Egypt. If hypothetically all were compelled to vote in Egypt, the constitution would have passed with almost same approval percentage. On its part, Egypt should become tolerant towards minorities and it should understand that all Western governments would favor Coptic Christians. But otherwise it is free to practice Islam in whatever way it desires.        


Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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