Category: Politics / December 16, 2012 5:42 PM EST
Egyptians lined up to vote in a referendum over a new draft constitution backed by the current President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, a group allied with the President. The draft constitution has met significant and even violent opposition from groups who feel the constitution does too little to protect the rights of minorities.
Lines were particularly long in part because many judges required to oversee the voting process are boycotting the vote. However, as the New York Times reported [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/world/middleeast/egypt-draft-constitution-vote.html?pagewanted=1], the relative orderliness of the vote is being seen as a step towards “stability”.
Mussa Sayed, voter, Cairo:
"I think there is a good turnout and a good system but there is congestion due to a lack of judges, so there is congestion here. It's supposed to be divided up and organized so people can move, I don't want to lose my entire day just so I can give my opinion - it means they don't want my opinion; they make it this difficult so that I don't come."
Adel Gallaab, voter, Cairo:
"It's very well organized with a large turnout but what we would have wished for is that people were happy that they were voting, not voting because the people are divided - we would have wished that people were voting happily and wanting to say 'yes'."
The voting will take place over two Saturdays, this and the next, and it is yet unclear how the losing parties will react. A constitution needs to be ratified before elections can be held next year. According to Al Jazeera News if this draft constitution is voted down it could take an assembly up to nine months to draft another.