12:01 AM, January 20, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Sisi wins but youths alienated

Sisi wins but youths alienated

Afp, Cairo

The approval of Egypt's constitution bolsters the powerful army chief but a large number of youths who helped topple two presidents within three years shunned the vote on the new charter.
Egyptian voters have approved the Tuesday-Wednesday referendum by 98.1 percent, officials announced Saturday, and the results are seen as nod to General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for president.
Sisi led the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July following massive protests against his one year-rule, which came after a popular uprising in 2011 toppled his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.
Youth movements at the forefront of protests that ended the rules of Morsi and Mubarak hardly objected when the military-installed authorities launched a deadly crackdown on Morsi's supporters.
Nor did they object when his Muslim Brotherhood movement was banned and designated a "terrorist" organisation. But they voiced their outrage when the military-backed authorities passed a law in November banning unauthorised demonstrations.
And this appears to have been clearly reflected during the voting.
Sisi had urged the youths to participate in the referendum, saying they formed "more than 50 percent" of Egypt's 85-million strong population.
Political analyst Hassan Nafea said turnout was "disappointing".
"The youth refused to participate in the referendum because they consider what is happening as a counter-revolution to the January revolution (against Hosni Mubarak)," said Nafea.
Electoral commission head Nabil Salib announced the official results on Saturday and said turnout "reached 38.6 percent" of 53 million registered voters, with only 1.9 percent voting "no."
That turnout shows "that the revolution of June 30 was a popular revolution," said another government official, of the day when millions took to the streets across Egypt to demand Morsi's ouster.
But Salib also acknowledged that a certain percentage of youths had not voted as the referendum coincided with examinations otherwise "the turnout would have been higher".
The new charter replaces an Islamist-inspired one adopted in a December 2012 referendum under Morsi with about two-thirds of the vote and a 33 percent turnout.
Nafea said the result showed, however, an overall backing for Sisi to run for president because "a large segment of Egyptians see the Brotherhood as a threat to the society".
Sisi has said he would bid for the presidency only if there was a popular demand.


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