Entries in Constitution (9)


Zimbabwe Votes on New Constitution

Hemera/Thinkstock(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Voters in Zimbabwe turned out to vote Saturday for a new constitution that is being backed by both political parties.

The new constitution includes measures to protect free expression and reduces the powers of the president, among other reforms considered to be pro-democracy.

Zimbabwe has been entrenched in crisis since the 2008 election, which saw former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai win the most votes, but refuse to participate in a runoff due to violence and accusations of vote-rigging on the part of the longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, 89, has been in power for over 25 years, and according to USA Today, the four most recent elections have been marred by violence. While the proposed constitution would limit his powers to some extent, critics say it doesn't quite do enough.

Additionally, critics say that because the voting date was not announced until about one month ago, the citizens have not had sufficient time to read and understand the 170-page document, according to the New York Times.

The main faction of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, is urging its supporters to vote "yes" Saturday, calling the proposed constitution the best compromise that could be achieved at this point.

According to the Times, the results of the vote are expected by Friday. Citizens hope that if passed, the new constitution will be a step towards peace and and towards putting Zimbabwe, once among the most stable nations in Africa, back on a path to prosperity

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Morsi Asks Egypt to Pull Together After Constitution Approval

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told his countrymen on Wednesday that everything was on the level when voters approved an Islamist-based constitution during two rounds of ballot-casting.

During a televised address, Morsi asked that those who opposed the draft proposal to now work together with the Muslim Brotherhood, which controls the government, so that Egypt can move toward a brighter future.

Morsi also expressed gratitude to Egyptians taking part in a free and fair election, declaring the country was transitioning from a "First Republic" to a new "Second Republic."

Critics contend voter fraud took place in areas where people opposed the constitution, which threatens to set back women’s rights in Egypt and boost persecution against minorities including Christians.

Meanwhile, Egypt is in the midst of a major economic crisis and rather than fight the government on the constitution, Morsi's opponents might wait for economic turmoil to set in before mounting new protests.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egypt Officially Passes Islamist-Based Constitution

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egypt’s electoral commission announced on Tuesday that an Islamist-backed constitution passed by about a two-thirds majority during two rounds of voting for the referendum that could profoundly alter the nation’s way of life going forward.

Only 17 million Egyptians, or about 30 percent of eligible voters, cast ballots to decide whether to accept the document.

However, President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party believe that the outcome is a mandate to move Egypt in a different direction from the more secular reign of former President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled with an iron fist for 30 years.

Critics, however, contend that the new constitution will curtail the rights women have achieved in Egypt, which are comparatively advanced for an Arab state.  Christians and other minorities also fear this will leave them open to more persecution.

In Washington, the State Department said “democracy requires much more than simple majority rule.  It requires protecting the rights and building the institutions that make democracy meaningful and durable.”

Therefore, the White House is calling on opponents of the constitution to demonstrate their unhappiness through legitimate political discourse while urging the Morsi government to accept dissenting views.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Voters Approve New Constitution

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Egyptian voters appear to have approved a controversial new constitution.

President Mohammad Morsi and his allies argue it will bring stability and let them focus on a crumbling economy.

Yet, opposition groups say the constitution wasn’t approved by enough voters, it allows conservative Islam to dominate society and doesn’t protect the rights of women or minorities.    

Vice President Mahmoud Mekki resigned on Saturday before the results of the votes were counted, Egypt state TV reported. According to the new constitution, the vice presidential post is eliminated.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Constitution Appears Headed for Approval

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Preliminary results in Egypt indicate that a majority of voters on Saturday approved the country’s new constitution, a charter backed by President Mohammed Morsi and his supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Observers say that this almost certainly means the constitution will pass, because the second day of voting -- next Saturday -- takes place in areas that are even more likely to approve the new charter.

The Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, announced on Sunday that an unofficial tally showed 56.5 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the draft constitution.  Initial results also indicate that about one-third of 26 million eligible voters went to the polls.

The Morsi government believes approval will finally bring stability to Egypt, but others feel the closeness of the vote will simply extend Egypt's deepening political instability.

Over the past several weeks, there have been violent clashes between Islamists and secularists.

Opposition groups say the first round of voting should be declared invalid by Egypt’s High Elections Commission because of rampant polling irregularities.  There are no indications that will happen.

If the new charter is approved, elections for the lower level of parliament would have to take place within two months.  Islamists are expected to win a majority of those seats.

Observers say a constitutional victory would significantly strengthen Morsi and his political allies and allow them to focus on Egypt’s crumbling economy.

They are also likely to make Egypt a more conservative, more religious country.

The opposition, however, feels Morsi is an autocrat, and cite voting irregularities and low turnout as a sign that the proposed constitution is illegitimate.  They have vowed to continue their fight.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Crowd of Protesters Swells to Tens of Thousands in Tahrir Square

MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO, Egypt) -- Tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters gathered in Tahrir Square Tuesday, angered over President Mohammed Morsi's self-declared assumption of broad powers and a rushed drafting by the president and Islamist allies of a new constitution that will be put on a national referendum.

President Morsi left the presidential palace as the crowd of protesters grew and began hurling stones and pulling down barricades. Riot police fired volleys of tear gas and retreated.

Critics say the new constitution could make Egypt more Islamic and doesn't do enough to guarantee freedoms, particularly those pertaining to women.  Egyptians will have a chance to vote on the new constitution in two weeks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Suicide Bombers Attack As Somali Delegates Approve New Constitution

George Doyle/Thinkstock(MOGADISHU, Somalia) -- As more than 600 delegates met in Mogadishu to approve Somalia's new constitution, marking a symbolic break with the country's turbulent past, two al Qaeda-linked suicide bombers tried to attack the gathering only to be killed by security guards.

Two men pretending to be delegates and wearing explosive vests tried to pass a security checkpoint outside the assembly at a police building in the HamarJajab section of the capital city.

According to the news website Somalia Report, the men were shot to death by security forces. Several government soldiers were wounded, but no members of the National Consitutent Assembly, which included legislators and tribal elders, were initially listed among those injured.

Witnesses told Somalia Report that they had seen the bodies of the suicide attackers, and that wounded soldiers had been evacuated to the hospital.

Al Shabaab, the Somali affiliate of al Qaeda, took credit for the attack. Via Twitter, al Shabaab said "twin martyrdom operations" had been carried out by its "Martyrdom Brigade" and that members of the assembly would be "tracked & by one" if they tried to implement the new constitution. The terror group had vowed to attack the National Constituent Assembly, which has been meeting in Mogadishu for the past week.

According to state radio, a regional Somali intelligence chief showed members of the assembly an identity card said to have been carried by one of the attackers, and said they were tracing the attackers.

The delegates passed the constitution in a landslide, with 96 percent of the 645 delegates in attendance voting in favor. The document, which was drawn up after a lengthy debate, will serve as an interim constitution for five years and replaces an earlier charter that lasted eight years.

Notably, it legalizes abortion when a mother's life is in danger and bans female circumcision.

Somalia will next select members of a new parliament, which will pick a speaker prior to the inauguration of a new president.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egyptians Vote on Proposed Constitutional Amendments

ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Given Egypt's political climate over the past several decades, Saturday was a day of joy as millions showed up at more than 50,000 polling stations to vote for constitutional amendments.

It was the first free elections in Egypt in more than 50 years, spurred by pro-democracy demonstrations less than two months ago that toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Still, it's unclear whether voters will approve the amendments to pave the way for parliamentary elections, essentially a government set up by the people rather than by whomever is running the country at the moment.

When Mubarak stepped down, the military stepped in to assume governing but has agreed to abide by the will of the electorate.

If approved, the new Egyptian president will be limited to two, four-year terms.  The amendments will also restrict some of the president's powers, including the ability to call for a state of emergency, which is the equivalent of martial law.

Those opposed to the amendments include some of the reformers who demanded Mubarak's ouster.  They are mostly Egypt's secular and liberal political figures, who complained the amendments won't give them sufficient time to form organized parties ahead of parliamentary election.

However, the once-outlawed -- and better organized --  Muslim Brotherhood, which the West fears will advance a radical Islamic agenda, supports the amendments.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kuwait Parliamentary Committee Rejects Ban on Bikinis

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MANAMA, Kuwait) - A committee in Kuwait has ruled that a motion to ban bikinis is unconstitutional, reports

The motion would have meant a one-year prison sentence and hefty fine for those caught wearing bikinis, clothes with deep cleavage and other revealing items at beaches.

Members of the Development and Reform Bloc and parliament member Khalid Al Sultan submitted the motion after they say they had noticed women on the beaches were not abiding by public standards of morality.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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