Since Morsi's ouster, Egypt has faced an insurgency in the strategic Sinai Peninsula by Islamic militants, some with al-Qaida links. In the mainland, Morsi's supporters have been staging almost daily street protests in Cairo and other major cities to demand his reinstatement. The protests often end violently, and there have been growing signs that some of the protesters are armed.
The military-backed government has in the meantime been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, jailing thousands of members, including most of its top and mid-level leaders. Morsi himself faces four separate trials, mostly on charges that carry the death penalty.
Egypt's media, which is mostly pro-military, has portrayed the referendum results as favorable to el-Sissi and an endorsement of the roadmap he sponsored: a new constitution followed by presidential and parliamentary elections.
"El-Sissi is the solution," screamed the red banner on Sunday's edition of the daily el-Yum el-Sabea. "The joy of the constitution is complete," said the state-owned el-Gumhorya. "Egypt said 'yes,'" said another state-owned paper, Al-Ahram. "A new constitution for a new era," stated the independent el-Masry el-Youm.
What Egyptians voted on last week was a heavily amended version of a charter drafted by Morsi's Islamist allies and adopted in a nationwide referendum in December 2012. The "yes" vote then was about 64 percent, but turnout was a lowly 33 percent. That vote was half-heartedly boycotted by the opposition, and the low turnout then was seen by the anti-Morsi groups as undermining the legitimacy of the charter.
Still, the fact that twice as many 2012 "yes" voters voted "yes" last week is seen by some as insufficient. Ominously, only 16 percent of Egyptians ages 18 to 30 are said to have voted. That is the segment of the population that served as the engine of the 2011 revolution and the big anti-Morsi demonstrations in June and July last year.
"Many seniors and middle-aged Egyptians are promoting stability and realpolitik, and are willing to accept the repressive measures of the authority in return for having a functional state, in comparison to a substantial portion of the younger generation who are still in the mood for revolution," said Mahmoud, the blogger.
Interim President Adly Mansour, in a televised address to the nation on Sunday night, sought to reassure young Egyptians that they will not be sidelined.
"Continue your march and integrate yourselves in political life," he counseled. "Rest assured that what Egyptians — men, women and the elderly — are striving to build with your help is for you and for your sons. You are the future of the nation."
Hendawi, who has covered the Middle East for the AP since 1995, is the Cairo chief of bureau. AP Reporter Maggie Hyde contributed to this report.
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