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NYT: Does Egypt's Vote Matter?

Author: Ursula Lindsey
January 16, 2014

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"This is the third constitutional referendum since Mr. Mubarak was forced out. Security conditions have deteriorated and political divisions deepened. Instead of real conversation about policies and politics, the debate has been reduced to slogans."

MANSOURA, Egypt — On Tuesday, the first day of a two-day referendum on Egypt's new constitution, voters outside the main polling station in this provincial city didn't want to talk about the content of the new national charter. Instead, they focused on what this vote has come to signify: support for the army, and abhorrence of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We're here so the world will know that this is the people's will, not a military coup," said Iman Mahmoud, a middle-aged housewife who, like everyone else in line, intended to vote in favor of the new constitution.

"We don't want the Muslim Brotherhood or Morsi," said Dalia Abdel Aziz, standing next to her, referring to the Islamist organization and to Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted as president in July. "They're terrorists."

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