EU approves 'largely orderly’ Egypt vote

2014-01-20 09:06
An Egyptian woman holds a child as she casts her vote in the country's constitutional referendum in Hawamdaya, 40km south of Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

An Egyptian woman holds a child as she casts her vote in the country's constitutional referendum in Hawamdaya, 40km south of Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

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Brussels - The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, on Sunday voiced approval of Egypt's referendum on a new constitution, but said she expected it to usher in civilian leadership.

She welcomed the vote taking place "in a largely orderly manner", while noting in her statement that turnout was officially recorded at under 40%.

Egyptian election officials said on Saturday the new constitution, which does away with changes introduced under ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, was approved by 98% of ballots cast in the Tuesday-Wednesday vote.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists boycotted the referendum.

Ashton said the EU could not verify alleged irregularities but said "these do not appear to have fundamentally affected the outcome".

She added: "I do however strongly regret the violent clashes related to the referendum leading to deaths and injuries on all sides in protests."

While Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who led Morsi's overthrow, was seen as possibly aiming to launch a presidential bid, Ashton said the new constitution should be applied "in a way that gives full effect to civilian pre-eminence".

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