People’s participation in the constitutional referendum on Jan. 14 and 15 indicates that they support the military-backed roadmap adopted by the government, said head of the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center Sherif Mehram on Wednesday.
Mehram’s comments came during his speech in a workshop entitled “Roadmap towards a safe democratic transition in Egypt”, held in collaboration with a Spanish foundation for democratic transition.
His comments are in contrast to concerns raised over the relatively low voter turnout of 38 percent, especially the low turnout of youth, who compose approximately 60 percent of the population.
This is in comparison to other referenda in the country’s history which generally saw higher turnouts, such as that held by Hosni Mubarak in 2005 over constitutional amendments which saw a 51 percent turnout, although accusations of vote-rigging abound during Mubarak’s era.
Egyptians finally managed to have a constitution they find appropriate, Mehram added.
He also said Egyptians want a state that guarantees their dignities and supports their rights without allowing any regime to oppress their freedoms.
The head of the IDSC’s comments indicate a certain degree of dissonance from the stance adopted by international and local NGOs, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, regarding recent developments in the country such as the new protest law which the former called “repressive.”
The NGOs have collectively decried what they called the politically-motivated imprisonment of activists such as Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, who were sentenced to three years of hard labor and fined 50,000 EGP for violating the controversial protest law.
Among the law’s stipulations is that protesters must attain permission for their demonstrations from the interior ministry two days prior to the event lest they face heavy fines and possible imprisonment.
The protest law drew widespread international condemnation following its issuance by Interim President Adly Mansour on Nov. 24, 2013. Seen as restricting the freedom of expression and assembly by several organizations, including the UN, the law has led to numerous violent confrontations between demonstrators and police.