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Democracy moving ahead.

Summary: REGARDLESS of the outcome of the ongoing referendum, the Egyptians are proving their persistence, keeping a strong grip on their revolution and their constitutional right of having a say in building the political structure of post-revolution Egypt.

The Egyptian Gazette

Spending long hours in endless queues to express their opinion in the draft constitution, the Egyptians have proven their ability to press ahead with the democratic process, despite the chaos that has prevailed in the streets for long weeks and even hours before the start of the first stage of the referendum.

But many citizens couldn't hide their concern at the incomplete judicial supervision of the process, because many judges have boycotted the referendum, which is why the voting was so slow on Saturday. It had to be extended from 7pm till 11pm.

Conflicting official statements over the actual number of judges participating in the process made citizens suspicious as to who was actually supervising the ballot in the different polling stations.

For the first time, we saw citizens requesting to see the ID cards of the judges before casting their votes. This angered some judges, but it actually reflects citizens' growing awareness of their rights.

Many citizens contacted NGOs and even police stations to convey their anger that there was no judicial supervision in some polling stations, while, in some cases, Islamists harangued citizens queueing to vote, trying to get them to say 'Yes' to the draft constitution.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Electoral Commission, Zaghloul el-Balshi, has denied that any of the judges were bogus, adding that the referendum is being conducted in two stages to ensure full judicial supervision.

In any case, the fact that the voting was so slow is a good reason for holding a second round of voting, starting on December 22 and lasting two days, encouraging citizens to vote.

The judges supervising the voting should be requested to show their IDs to the voters, to assure them that everything is above board.

If the majority vote 'Yes', Egypt might not get a constitution that will please the revolutionaries, but at least the Egyptians are progressing down the road of democracy.

Copyright Eltahir House 2012

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Date:Dec 18, 2012
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