Egyptians 'back constitution'

Egyptians voted narrowly in favour of a constitution shaped by Islamists and opposed by liberals in the first round of a two-stage vote, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's party that sought a "yes" vote said, citing its unofficial tally.

Senior official: 'Egyptians vote in favour of constitution'

Egyptians have voted narrowly in favour of a constitution shaped by Islamists and opposed by liberals in the first of two rounds of voting, according to a member of the Muslim Brotherhood party, who cited an unofficial tally.

"The referendum was 56.5 percent for the 'yes' vote," a senior official in the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party operations room set up to monitor voting told Reuters.

The second round vote in remaining areas of the country is next Saturday.

Violence flares amid Egypt's referendum vote

Members of Egypt's opposition Wafd party said Islamists attacked the party's headquarters building in central Cairo with petrol bombs.

Violence broke out as Egyptians voted in a referendum on a new constitution intended to stop the country sliding into political crisis.

Two people were injured and firefighters said they had put out the flames, according to a Reuters witness.

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Egypt state media says voting has been extended

Egyptian state media is reporting that voting in the first stage of a referendum on a controversial draft constitution has been extended to 23:00 (GMT), after voters complain of long queues.

People queue outside a polling centre to vote in a referendum on Egypt's new constitution in Cairo Credit: Reuters/Amr Dalsh

Egyptians begin voting in constitution referendum

Egyptians have started voting in the first stage of a referendum on the constitution promoted as the way out of the country's prolonged political crisis.

Queues formed at polling stations before they opened after a series of violent protests and demonstrations by supporters and opponents of the measure leading up to the vote.

Egyptians queue to cast their ballot in the first of a two-stage referendum
Egyptians queue to cast their ballot in the first of a two-stage referendum Credit: Reuters TV

President Mohamed Mursi provoked angry protests last month when he issued a decree expanding his powers and then fast-tracked the draft constitution through an assembly dominated the Muslim Brotherhood group and its allies.

More than 26 million voters are scheduled to cast their ballots today, while another 25 million will vote next week.

Today's vote is being held in 10 provinces, including Cairo and the port city of Alexandria - the the scene of violent clashes yesterday between opponents and supporters of President Mursi.

Egypt prepares to vote in referendum on constitution

An employee of the constitutional referendum committee prepares a ballot box
An employee of the constitutional referendum committee prepares a ballot box Credit: Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

Egypt will vote in a referendum on a controversial draft constitution this weekend and next, despite facing fierce criticism from opposition groups.

The referendum will happen in two parts, with the first taking place today in eight Egyptian cities and provinces, including the capital city Cairo, with the rest of the country voting next Saturday.

The Egyptian government has deployed 130,000 police officers and 120,000 soldiers to maintain orders during the referendum and to prepare for possible clashes.

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