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Voices of Egypt's voters on draft constitution

Tuesday - 1/14/2014, 10:32am  ET

An Egyptian man reads a local newspaper which has a main headline in Arabic that reads,"yes to the constitution," while he waits his turn to cast his vote in the country's constitutional referendum in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. Upbeat and resentful of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptians voted Tuesday on a new constitution in a referendum that will pave the way for a likely presidential run by the nation's top general months after he ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptians voted on a draft constitution Tuesday, a referendum that will decide whether the country adopts a text drawn up under the military-backed interim government that ousted Egypt's Islamist president in a July coup. Politicians and analysts see the vote as a test of the government's popularity, and as paving the way for a presidential run by Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

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"I voted yes because I think we are in a crisis. This constitution is not perfect, but we need to move forward and fix it later." -- Ameena Abd Al-Salaama, 65, after voting on her way to the market in the upscale neighborhood of Zamalek.

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"The Muslim Brotherhood is like a headless chicken giving its last breath, and a yes vote will mean their end. I am here to send a message to the world and to those who hate Egypt that we want to live and get our country back on its feet." -- Alaa al-Nabi Mohammed, 67, in the Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba.

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"This constitution is not built on legitimacy. I am not going to vote. I know it will pass whether we like it or not. But I won't participate in anything I am not convinced of. And if I say anything against it, I will be arrested. Keeping silent is better." --Hani Abdel-hakim, a 33-year old argued with a street vendor outside a polling station in the Islamist stronghold of Assuit.

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"Those boycotting are desperate and it's not the way that would make the Muslim Brotherhood part of the political process again. This will only exclude them from the political process." -- Amr Moussa, foreign minister and chairman of the panel that wrote the Egypt's draft constitution.

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"I will say yes today. I voted yes in the last referendum and I'll say yes again. I will say yes because we need the country to be safe, we need progress. God only knows if things will actually change."-- Fatma Ahmed, 58, a sandwich seller near a polling station in Nasser City.

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"To be honest, I can't go and vote. I was with the demonstrators at the Rabaa sit-in and I saw them die. For me, this referendum has no legitimacy." -- Ahmed Zakaria, 24, who works at a sandwich stand near a polling station and the Rabaa Adawiyya Mosque, where security forces violently broke up a sit-in of former President Mohammed Morsi supporters this summer. Some 300 were killed.

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"You must come out and vote to prove to those behind the dark terrorism that you are not afraid,"-- Interim President Adly Mansour, after he voted early in the day.


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