Egypt holds final vote on divisive charter

2012-12-22 08:06
(Mahmud Khaled, AFP)

(Mahmud Khaled, AFP)

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Cairo - Egyptians vote on Saturday in the final round of a referendum on an Islamist-backed constitution that has fuelled weeks of sometimes bloody protests in the divided country but is likely to be approved.

Polling stations open at 08:00 in the remaining 17 provinces that did not vote in last Saturday's first round of the referendum.

Hundreds of Egyptians clashed on Friday in the country's second largest city Alexandria in the latest violence between Islamists who back the charter and opponents who accuse them of overreaching.

The interior ministry said 62 people, among them 12 police conscripts, were injured and 12 protesters were arrested.

At least 250 000 police and soldiers will be deployed on Saturday to provide security at polling stations.

Last weekend's first round of the referendum exposed a deep rift in the country, with 57% of voters opting for the charter, according to unofficial tallies.

Analysts expect a majority of voters will accept the text in the second round also.

"Everything suggests the vote will go the way the Muslim Brotherhood wants," Hassan Nafaa, an analyst and commentator, wrote in the newspaper Al-Masri al-Youm.

Preliminary results compiled from returning officers are expected by early Sunday. The electoral committee overseeing the referendum has not yet announced when it will declare the final official result.

The constitution, drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly boycotted by Christians and liberals, is at the heart of the power struggle between the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, and his secular-leaning opposition.

 

- SAPA
Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa
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