Egyptians vote on new charter

BBC Online :Voting has resumed in Egypt in a two-day referendum on a new constitution drawn up following the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi.The army-backed government is seeking a “Yes” vote to endorse his removal.With security tight, Tuesday’s voting was reported to be broadly peaceful. However, nine people died in clashes involving Mursi supporters. Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated a terrorist group, is boycotting the vote.The new charter is to replace the constitution passed under Mursi before he was removed last July. Polling stations are scheduled to close at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT), although it remains unclear when results will be announced.The BBC’s Sally Nabil, at a polling station in Alexandria, says the number of people queuing as voting began was noticeably lower than at the same time on the first day.But our correspondent James Reynolds, who is in Cairo, says the queue at the Workers University polling station was again busy – with a line extending several hundred metres.However, he says the overall turnout remains uncertain. Al-Hayat TV cited the justice ministry as saying it “exceeded 50% in many polling stations” on the first day.Much of the media though has been endorsing the new constitution and is widely seen as reflecting the government’s point of view.State-run media were on Tuesday describing the vote as a “democratic ceremony” – a term widely used during the Hosni Mubarak era but not heard since he was ousted in the revolution of January 2011. The vote is expected to come out in favour of the new charter.A huge security operation began on Tuesday, with some 160,000 soldiers and more than 200,000 policemen deployed nationwide.The referendum is believed likely to lead to elections later in the year and army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who backed the overthrow of Mursi, is considered almost certain to stand for the post of president.

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