The results of Egypt’s January referendum on a new constitution should come as no surprise to anyone. The poll was after all, something akin to the popular television show The X Factor or one of its many international spin-offs, where, after much hype and debate, the “most acceptable” competitor is usually the victor.
Since the democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power last July, following mass protests against his rule, army chief General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi has become the country’s pin-up boy, with his image on tee-shirts, mugs and every conceivable street souvenir.
The referendum, was billed by the General as the first milestone in a political transformation on the long road to presidential and parliamentary elections and an event that would ultimately bring stability to Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood called for a boycott of the referendum but with that organisation outlawed to the point where even attending a peaceful protest demonstrating support for it is a chargeable offence, a Sissi win was always a forgone conclusion.
Egyptians talk and live politics but few are prepared to fight or die for politics. After the past months and years of turmoil what they desire more than anything else is a chance to live normal lives. General Sissis’s success is not a vote against the Brotherhood, or one in favour of a return to military rule. It is quite simply a heartfelt cry for a return to peace
Hoda Boctor, Edinburgh