Referendum A Vote Of Confidence For Interim Government


BMI View : The results of Egypt's constitutional referendum point to broad support for the interim government and the army. Looking ahead, we expect defence minister General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will announce his candidacy for presidential elections in the coming weeks. In this scenario, we see few risks to el-Sisi becoming Egypt's next president. Overall, we anticipate political risks in Egypt to decline as the country return to democratic rule, at least notionally.

The results of Egypt's constitutional referendum appear to give the interim government a strong mandate and indicate substantial popular support for the regime. Approval for the constitution came in at 98.1%, with turnout reaching 38.6%. The constitutional referendum was the first vote since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013 and thus is useful as a barometer for assessing the popularity of the army and interim government. While the turnout was not as resounding as the current regime would have hoped, it is clear that, on balance, the result indicates a significant amount of legitimacy despite the ousting of an elected government.

As we highlighted before the vote, the referendum was as much about the constitution as about the army and interim government's position in power. The degree of popular enthusiasm among voters for the new constitution was unequivocal, however, the turnout was low, in part due to a boycott by Muslim Brotherhood supporters. That said, Egypt has traditionally had low turnouts, even though relatively free and fair elections are a relatively new phenomenon. Indeed, in the last constitutional referendum, in December 2012 turnout came in at 32.8%. Most strikingly, looking at the share of the electorate who voted in favour (ie people who voted, and then voted in favour), the 2014 constitutional vote came in at 37.5% compared with 21.1% and 31.7% for constitutional referendums in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Significant Mandate For Regime
Egypt - Referendum & Election Results

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Related sectors of this article: Political Risk, Domestic Politics
Geography: Egypt