Egypt’s Draft Constitution Leader Quits Following Corruption Allegations
A top official in charge of overseeing Egypt’s hotly-contested draft constitution has resigned citing health concerns, following allegations of rule-breaking.
Secretary General of the Election Committee Zaghloul el-Balshi’s “sudden health crisis” was dismissed by critics on Thursday as a cover-up, although his relatives said he had recently undergone eye surgery.
In a letter of resignation published in the private daily El Watan, he wrote, “The effort I put in over the past period has caused a sudden health crisis,” suggesting stress as a possible cause.
The confirmation comes after Mahmoud Abu Shousha, a member of the Committee, said the reports were untrue on Tuesday evening, according to the Daily News Egypt.
Egypt’s Justice Ministry is currently investigating allegations against al-Balshi, including reports that he replaced judges with friendly employees.
Judges have boycotted monitoring the referendum on the new draft constitution, which gives significant power to the country’s religious authorities.
On Wednesday, another branch of the judiciary, the administrative prosecution union, joined the boycott complaining that Muslim Brotherhood supporters had made legal proceedings impossible by blocking judges from making a ruling.
At least eight people died in clashes at protests in the run up to the referendum on the constitution.
Opponents of the draft argue that it sidelines the rights of women and religious and ethnic minorities, particularly Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population.
On the first of two days of voting on the charter last week, around 57 percent voted in favor, although voter turnout was reportedly extremely low.