Fadel supported the constitution; Mohammed did not.
Up until the election they would shout at each from facing balconies. The disagreement continued all the way into the voting booth.
“I want stability. We have to have something,” said Fadel, who voted for Morsi in the presidential election. “We want better circumstances for our country and-”
“How can you say that?” interrupted Mohammed, who did not let her finish her thought, and who voted for Morsi rival Ahmed Shafik in the election. “Who brought these circumstances to us? What has Morsi done?”
But Mohammed could not say what she wanted to happen if the constitution was voted down and if she was willing to wait another year for a new constitutional assembly to rewrite the document.
“You don’t even understand why you are voting no!” Fadel said.
Even judges monitoring the election and eventually in charge of following the constitution if it passes were dubious that the document could last.
Judge Bassem al Farouk, who was monitoring elections in Shobra, said the 236-page document was too long and too vague to be a proper contract between the people and their government.
“It will be very difficult to follow,’ he said.
Because of the shortage of judges, voting was extended over two Saturdays so those willing to participate could monitor polling stations. On Saturday, ten governorates, including Cairo and Alexandria voted; next Saturday, the remaining 17 will vote. In between Egyptians will learn the preliminary results.
The current crisis began Nov. 22, when Morsi declared that his decisions could not be reviewed by the country’s judges. It continued when the constitutional assembly, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, hastily completed a draft document before a court ruling could have dissolved the assembly. Morsi quickly approved the document and the referendum.
After several demonstration and counter-demonstrations, the crisis reached its most violent moments Wednesday when rival protesters set upon one another with rocks, firebombs and gunshots outside the presidential palace, killing nine.
Ismail is a McClatchy special correspondent