Saturday: Super Moon and Democratic Practices

Even though I was pushing for a No to the constitutional ammendments since going into parlimentary and presidential elections with a new constitution that hasn’t been butchered by Mubarak and his thugs for 30 years meant we had a backbone to our revolution. However, it seems that the “yes” vote is the clear winner.

Usually what you are used to hearing during elections and voting procedures in Egypt is news of people arrested, people stopped from voting, lobbying inside, buses of people paid to vote and accounts of dead people voting. Even though yesterday was not perfect, including an attack on possible presidential candidate El Baradei and the arrest of human rights lawyer Ragia Omran, I have to say yesterday given the circumstances was very much a success.

25 million people voted, as opposed to 6 million people voting in November’s parliamentary elections. That is more than half of the people eligible to vote in Egypt. Not only that, this process was rushed, confusing and the Military Council did a very bad job in communicating the implications of voting yes or no. Yet within all these circumstances 25 million Egyptians still felt involved enough to go vote, and that is a clear indicator of political participation and interest as well as the success of the ongoing revolution.

Update since posted: Only 18.5 million people voted not 25 million as previously reported. For the more figures of the result of the constitutional referendum click here.

We have a lot of work to do, a lot awareness to raise. Political parties, movements and independents that are pro-reform, pro-democracy and want to work to make Egypt a country which stands for the revolutions slogans of freedom and social justice will need to work extra hard to get themselves represented in parliament. Citizens will also have to take an active role in raising awareness, lobbying for these groups and ensuring the voting population understands the implications of voting and the importance of their newly found voice.

On March 19th, Egypt witnessed what maybe is the first real democratic process it has seen in the past years. On March 19th also the moon was the closest to the earth it had ever been in 18 years. What better way to celebrate such a huge step for our revolution than under a moonlight so bright that it lit up Cairo’s already shimmering sky?

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