Under this tag, you will find content I have written that relates to the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The content originates from my following of foreign policy and defence-related matters in the region. The point of view of that content is that of a critical consultant working in and on the region.
Based on numbers reported by Egyptian media outlets, below is a summary of the constitutional referendum vote results broken down by governorate.
What do these numbers tell us?
In two stages of voting, average turnout across governorates was 30%, with Egyptians abroad participation being the most notable outlier with a 41% turnout rate.
The only three governorates where the majority of voters elected to reject the draft constitution are Cairo, Gharbiyya, and Menofia.
What do these numbers not tell us?
Given that the vast majority of eligible voters (68% or 33,855,564) did not participate in the referendum, we can neither conclude that the majority of the eligible voting population supports the constitution, nor can we conclude that a majority rejects it.
Only 16,232,035 or 32% of eligible voters have reportedly cast a vote. It is, therefore, misleading to claim that the silence of the other 68% is reflective of support for one position or another.
From the series “Sinai’s most wanted militants”, by Mosa’ab Elshamy. Image used with permission.
In April of this year, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dubbed the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt a “kind of Wild West” after rockets fired from there targeted the resort town of Eilat. According to Netanyahu, the peninsula is exploited by Islamist militants helped by Iran to smuggle weapons and stage attacks on Israel. In August, 16 Egyptian border guards were killed in an attack by Islamist militants who then crossed the border. This is one of a string of violent incidents since Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected president of Egypt in June.