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Egypt's charter headed for approval, but troubles loom

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Saturday's voting in 17 of Egypt's 27 provinces was the second and final round of the referendum. Though the constitution is widely expected to pass, the key questions will be over turnout and the margin of victory. Preliminary results from the first round a week ago showed only 32 percent turnout and a relatively low edge of 56 percent for the "yes" vote. Preliminary results from the second round are expected to emerge by early Sunday.

The new constitution would come into effect once official results are announced, expected in several days.

In a sign of disarray in Morsi's administration, his vice president and — possibly — the central bank governor resigned during Saturday's voting. Vice President Mahmoud Mekki's resignation had been expected since his post is eliminated under the new constitution. But its hasty submission even before the charter has been sealed and his own resignation statement suggested it was linked to Morsi's policies.

"I have realized a while ago that the nature of politics don't suit my professional background as a judge," his resignation letter, read on state TV, said. Mekki said he had first submitted his resignation last month but events forced him to stay on.

The status of Central Bank Governor Farouq el-Oqdah was murkier. State TV first reported his resignation, then soon after reported the Cabinet denied he has stepped down in a possible sing of confusion. El-Oqdah, in his post since 2003, has reportedly been seeking to step down but in recent weeks the administration was trying to convince him to stay on. The government is eager to show some stability in the economy as the Egyptian pound has been sliding and a much-needed $4.8 billion loan from the IMF has been postponed.

Over the past month, seven of Morsi's 17 top advisers and the one Christian among his top four aides resigned. Like Mekki, they said they had never been consulted in advance on any of the president's moves, including his Nov. 22 decrees, since rescinded, that granted himself near absolute powers.

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