Egypt's New Islamist Constitution Becomes Law
A new Constitution drafted by an Islamist-majority committee has been signed into law by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
With less than one one-third of voters turning out to decide the fate of the draft over the past week, those who did approved the document by 63.8 %.
However, many Egyptian citizens appear to be losing confidence in the future of the country, and are rushing to withdraw their savings from the nation's banks.
The Cairo government has imposed new restrictions in order to stem the bleed, however. Authorities have imposed currency controls, for the first time banning Egyptians from leaving the country with more than $10,000 in cash.
The government has also pledged to increase taxes – an unpopular move – and cut spending in order to bring the economy back into line in hopes of winning approval from the International Money Fund. The IMF decided recently to hold up a loan it had previously approved for Cairo, citing financial and social instability.
Likewise, the U.S. State Department called on Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsi to unify the diverse elements in his society and calm the troubled factions. “As the democratically elected leader of Egypt,” said State Department spokesman Patric Ventrell, Morsi “has a special responsibility to move forward in a way that recognizes the urgent need to bridge divisions.”
Morsi's vice president and his communications minister both resigned “for Egypt” in the wake of a decree issued last month by the president granting himself sweeping new powers.
Egypt's Shura Council, the upper house of parliament that previously had little to do with legislative action, is expected to hold its first session on Saturday. Morsi will address the body, which is expected to draft a law regulating upcoming parliamentary elections, according to the pan-Arab Aljazeera news channel.