Egypt rights council urges ‘violation count’ as constitution adopted

26-12-2012 12:00 AM

Ammon News - By Al Arabiya With Agencies

Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights on Tuesday urged the country’s authorities to investigate “violations and irregularities” during the referendum on the constitution, which was passed by 64 percent of voters.

The council has submitted 1,073 complaints to the High Judicial Elections Commission, Egypt’s private al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reported, which include “delayed opening of polling stations, influencing voters inside and outside stations, the early closing of stations, collective voting and impeding observers.”

“We spotted more violations than other observers,” Mohamed al-Damaty, head of the elections support unit said, with the council’s researchers adding that they had issued 50,000 authorizations for organizations and observers to supervise the referendum.

Egypt's electoral commission confirmed on Tuesday that a controversial, Islamist-backed constitution was passed by 64 percent of voters, rejecting opposition allegations of polling fraud.

Those official results tallied with figures given by President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood immediately after the last round of polling over the weekend in the two-stage referendum. Turnout, however, was barely 33 percent.

"There is no loser in this referendum result. This constitution will be for all of us," Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said in a statement. He called on "all political forces to cooperate with the government" to restore the economy.

The opposition reiterated its rejection of the result.

"The law will take its course after the official complaints we have made to the prosecution service over violations and fraud that have been noted," National Salvation Front spokesman Khaled Daoud told AFP news agency.

The United States on Tuesday urged all sides in Egypt to increase political engagement after Egyptian officials announced that voters had overwhelmingly approved a new constitution drafted by President Mohammed Mursi’s Islamist allies.

“President Mursi, as the democratically elected leader of Egypt, has a special responsibility to move forward in a way that recognizes the urgent need to bridge divisions,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement, noting that many Egyptians had voiced “significant concerns” over the constitutional process.

“We hope those Egyptians disappointed by the result will seek more and deeper engagement. We look to those who welcome the result to engage in good faith. And we hope all sides will re-commit themselves to condemn and prevent violence,” Ventrell said.

The battle over the constitution led to a month of protests, some of them violent, including clashes on December 5 that killed eight people and injured hundreds.

The “yes” vote paves the way for a parliamentary election in about two months, setting the stage for yet another electoral battle between surging Islamists and their fractious liberal and leftist opponents.

The National Salvation Front opposition coalition, however, has already dismissed the plebiscite as “only one battle” and vowed to “continue the fight for the Egyptian people.”

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