Egyptians to vote on post-Morsi constitution

Photo: Egyptians to vote on post-Morsi constitution / Arabic region

Egyptians will cast their ballots on Tuesday in a constitutional referendum, marking the first vote since the military-backed overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi six months ago, dpa reported.

The revised charter, drafted by a mostly secular commission, is devoid of the Islamic references that characterized a controversial constitution adopted in 2012 under Morsi.

Supporters of the charter say it guarantees individual freedoms, religious liberty and women's rights, while critics say it gives special privileges to the military.

Some 53 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in the two-day referendum. Around 30,000 polling stations nationwide will open at 9:00 am (0700 GMT) and close at 9:00 pm (1900 GMT).

The referendum is a key element of a transitional plan, which the government says aims to restore democracy after Morsi. The plan includes parliamentary and presidential elections, which are set to take place six months after the new constitution takes effect.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which is boycotting the vote, has called on its followers to take to the streets, raising fears of violence. Hundreds have died since July.

The government has vowed "zero tolerance" against any bid to disrupt the vote, with over 160,000 security forces deployed to protect polling stations.

Results are expected within three days of the vote.

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