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In Egypt, the Silent Majority is Still Silent

Egyptians went to the polls to vote on a new constitution, being pushed for and supported by president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party. The first round shows that about 57 per cent of the voters are in support of the constitution, despite concerns from civil society and the opposition that the new constitution, shaped by Islamists, aims to limit freedoms, cement the role of the military, and the further the Islamisation of Egypt. The second round of this two-stage referendum takes place on Saturday.

The controversial votes comes after three weeks of clashes and sit-in across Egypt, which saw 10 people killed, hundreds arrested and at least 1,000 people injured.

Many were worried about cheating. Bassem Sabry notes:

@Bassem_Sabry: I know many of the electoral violation reports are often hyperbolic, but I'm genuinely worried this time. #Egypt

Rasha posts this photograph, allegedly showing a teenager counting votes:

A photograph allegedly showing a child counting votes

A photograph allegedly showing a child counting votes. Photograph shared by @Rasha_Jan25 on Twitter

She tweets:

#امسك_تزوير طفل يجلس ويفرز الاصوات من داخل لجنة 43 مدرسة النهضة الابتدائية بعين شمس pic.twitter.com/23KMhUCn

@Rasha_25Jan: Catch them cheating! A child counting votes inside committee number 43 in Al Nahdha Primary School in Ain Shams

And Amr Salah says there was a lot of stalling in voting stations. He explains:

اغلب الدواير التي لها سجل تصويتي قوي لصالح القوي المدنية هناك تعمد لتعطيل التصويت بها..الناس بالالاف من الصبح ممنوعين عمليا من التصويت بلا

@AmrSalah: There was an attempt to stall voting in most of the constituencies which have a record of voting with civil society powers .. Thousands of people are being technically barred from casting their No vote

Tarek Amr tweets why he refuses the constitution:

وماله لما الصحة تتخصخص، مش ده سبب أرفض عشانه الدستور، أنا رافض الدستور عشان دستور شرم برم كاتبينه شوية عاهات

@gr33ndata: So what is health care was privatised? That is not the reason I reject this constitution. I reject it because it is a flimsy constitution, written by mentally challenged people

And Egyptian belly dancer Sama El Masry posts this video on YouTube, where she belly dances her reaction to what she describes as a “cooked up constitution”:

After the first stage count results were announced, blogger Alaa Abdelfattah comments:

الأغلبية الصامتة لسه صامتة

@alaa: The silent majority is still silent

Wael Ghonim adds:

نتيجة المرحلة الأولى: من كل 100 مصري له حق التصويت: 69 لم يشارك في الاستفتاء، 18 موافق على الدستور، 13 غير موافق على الدستور

@Ghonim: The first stage results: Out of every 100 Egyptians eligible to vote, 69 did not take part in the referendum, 18 voted Yes to it and 13 voted No

And Omar Hagrass shows how media covered the results:

لو عايز النتيجة “نعم” افتح قناة مصر ٢٥ و لو عايزها “لا” افتح أون تي في و لو عايز تريح دماغك افتح باب الأودة و ناااااااااااااااام.

@OHagrass: If you want the result to be Yes, open Egypt 25 channel [on TV]; if you want the result to be No, open ONTV; and if you want to take a break, open the door of your room and go to sleep.

Karim Shafei notes:

إللى فرحان بنعم وإللى فرحان بلا.. فرحانين على إيه؟ على دستور ما تنشرش رسميا وبيصوت عليه ناس ما لحقوش يقروه ولو قروه ما فهموهوش؟؟

@KarShaf: Those happy with Yes and those happy with No … what are you happy about? A constitution which has not been officially published and which is being voted on by people who did not get a chance to read it, and even those who did read it were not able to understand it??

Ahmed Atia Aboshosha concludes:

هذا الاستفتاء جرى فى جو ملئ بأكبر قدر من الشائعات والانقسامات ولم يكن هناك وقت لتنظيمه جيدا..والحقيقة كان من الأفضل تأجيله

@AD_Shosha: This referendum was held in a climate full of rumours and divisions. There was no time to organise it properly. In reality, it would have been better if it had been postponed

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