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Egypt Completes First Round of Constitution Referendum

RIA Novosti

02:45 16/12/2012

CAIRO, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - Egyptian voting polls closed late on Saturday four hours later than it had been planned after the country completed the first round of the all-nation referendum on the draft Constitution.

The voting polls closed at 11.00 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m. local time due to an unprecedented high turnout, which was much higher than during the presidential election this summer, according to local observers.

Local media reported that according to results from several polling stations, the majority of Egyptians voted in support of the new Constitution, although the count of votes just began.

Egypt's largest alliance of opposition parties, the National Salvation Front, already reported about some 700 cases of violation during the voting, including ballot-stuffing and the use of forged ballots.

Some 120,000 officers and soldiers, about 6,000 units of military hardware as well as combat helicopters were providing security across the country during the first round of the referendum on Saturday.

The official results of the Egyptian all-nation referendum on the new Constitution will be announced after the second round scheduled for December 22.

The referendum, as well as President Mohamed Morsi's controversial constitutional declaration have ignited Egypt's worst political crisis since Morsi's election in June.

Both supporters and opponents of Morsi have been rallying in Cairo and other Egyptian cities ever since he announced his decision to hold a nationwide referendum on the new Constitution, approved by the constituent assembly last month.

Violent clashes between opposing groups left seven people dead and hundreds injured last week.



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