Reacting Tuesday to passage of Egypt’s divisive new constitution, the State Department chose not to directly criticize its Islamist character, noting only that “[m]any Egyptians have voiced deep concerns” and calling for peaceful dialogue.
“We hope those Egyptians disappointed by the result will seek more and deeper engagement,” department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a Christmas Day statement. “We look to those who welcome the result to engage in good faith. And we hope all sides will re-commit themselves to condemn and prevent violence.”
Over the weekend, in the second of two rounds of voting on the draft constitution, 71 percent of those who voted, voted in favor, meaning overall support for the charter was almost 64 percent, according to unofficial results. Voter turnout was just 30 percent.
The outcome is a major victory for President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and for fellow Islamists in the fundamentalist Salafist Nour movement.
“We cannot celebrate the trade of an authoritative regime for an Islamic dictatorship,” U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said in response to the referendum outcome.
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