One of the top officials in charge of overseeing Egypt’s vote on a contentious Islamist-backed draft constitution resigned Wednesday, citing health problems, a judicial official said, in what critics saw as another blow to the legitimacy of the process. The resignation comes amid allegations of vote irregularities and follows boycotts of the referendum judges and others leaving the voting process with a severe shortage of monitors to oversee it. Secretary General of the Election Committee Zaghloul el-Balshi attributed his resignation to “a sudden health crisis,” according to a copy of a letter he sent to the committee that was published by several Egyptian dailies including the privately owned el-Watan. The official confirmed the authenticity of the letter. Relatives told local Egyptian media that el-Balshi has undergone eye surgery.
“The effort I put in over the past period has caused a sudden health crisis,” the letter of resignation read. “As you know, it is impossible to carry out my mission with this health condition,” it added. The judicial official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.
However, critics believe the resignation was prompted by widespread irregularities. “The violations were blatant, and he couldn’t bear more, so he resigned. Don’t believe what is said about his health condition,” said Hossam Eissa, professor of law in Ain Shams University and a leading opposition member. “Half of the people will not recognize this constitution.”