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Egyptian Opposition Activists Makes Accusations of Referendum Voting Fraud

December 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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GWEN IFILL: In Egypt, although one side seems to have clearly won, citizens are still awaiting official results of the country’s constitutional referendum.

As the sun rose over Cairo today, opposition activists in Tahrir Square vowed to hold their ground against the newly approved constitution.

MAHMOUD HAMMAM, Opposition Protester (through translator): What we all need is a constitution that express the demands of all Egyptians. We are here to say that we need a constitution for all of us.

GWEN IFILL: On Sunday, leaders of the National Salvation Front warned the document would give too much way to Islamic law and curb the rights of women and the Coptic Christian minority.

HAMDEEN SABAHI, National Salvation Front (through translator): We are committed to continuing our collective peaceful struggle in order to bring down this constitution through legitimate means as soon as possible, because it’s a constitution that is not worthy of Egyptians.

GWEN IFILL: President Mohammed Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, reported the draft charter won a 64 percent yes vote after Saturday’s second round of voting. The opposition had a similar count, but said there were many instances of fraud.

And even some supporters of the constitution said a higher margin of victory might have insured stability, after years of political chaos.

SALAM SAYED (through translator): The referendum was completely free and fair, and this is something that I have seen with my own eyes. They say 63 percent yes. This is the least that should be. It should have been 70 or 75 percent. The Egyptian people need to commit to the results of the ballot, just as we have been taught in a democracy.

GWEN IFILL: Some independent newspapers challenged the legitimacy of the results after over one-third of the country came out to vote on Saturday. Now, with parliamentary elections scheduled in two months, the struggle over Egypt’s political future moves to a new arena.

Once ratification of the new constitution is made official, the upper chamber of parliament will convene with enhanced powers to legislate. Over the weekend, Morsi appointed 90 new members to the body already dominated by Islamists.