As Egyptians head out today to take part in the first national referendum after #Jan25, they experience for the first time ever an uncertain outcome. Gone are the days when we knew the results of an election before it even took place. The referendum is to determine if the majority accept the recent amendments to the 1971 constitution which would act as a transitory constitution until a new one is developed and agreed upon. Its a difficult decision, in fact a dilemma. For the Yay camp, its a predictable transition into a democratic state that speeds the departure from the current military rule. For the Nay camp, revolutions obliterate consitutions, they don’t amend them, and we must start afresh, even if means an extended military rule during the transition.
The dilemma has sparked a marvelous national debate, in living rooms, at cafes, on facebook and twitter, and even here in Boston, where Egyptians in the area will converge onto Harvard Square to cast a symbolic vote (Egyptians abroad are still not able to participate in elections and referenda, a vestige of the old Egypt). Despite the uncertainty of the outcome, what is certain is that the times have changed and Egyptians are growing into their new democracy. The journey however, has just begun!