The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

The results are in

18 million voted, 14 million (77%) said "yes" and 4 million said "no."

It's a mandate for the military to some extent, but the minority is substantial enough to make it clear consensus is not overwhelming — even if there were different reasons for voting yes or no.

One nice aspect of this is that the commission overseeing the referendum is taking critical questions from the press, explaining where there was fraud, assuring that perpetrators will be punished (2-5 years in prison). That's pretty unprecedented, previously the government just ignored allegations of fraud.

My analysis what is problematic with the referendum still stands, and we'll have to wait to see if the case for massive fraud can convincingly be made. Overall, though, I suspect that this referendum, is in its conduct, was generally a step forward for Egypt.