After chaos, Egyptians narrowly support controversial draft constitution
Egyptians on Saturday voted narrowly in favor of a contentious draft constitution that has become a referendum on whether President Mohamed Morsi and his Islamist backers are trustworthy guardians of the diverse revolution that ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.
“The referendum was 56.5 percent for the ‘yes’ vote,” a senior official in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party operations room told Reuters, citing its unofficial tally.
The party had representatives at almost all polling stations across the 10 areas, including Cairo, where the first round of voting was held. He said the tally was based on counts from more than 99 percent of polling stations.
Despite weeks of protests that have at times turned into bloody, rock-throwing brawls, voting appeared to be largely peaceful on the first of two Saturdays the balloting will be held. Morsi had empowered the military to protect polling sites and arrest civilians if necessary, but across Cairo, soldiers seemed more relaxed than tense as they mingled with police, smoked cigarettes or helped elderly voters up stairs. Official results will not be announced until after voting ends Dec. 22.
Saturday seemed to be a day for debate and, to some extent, reveling in disagreements rather than coming to blows over them.