Polls Close in Egyptian Referendum on Constitution

Posted December 22nd, 2012 at 6:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The polls have closed in Egypt in the second and final round of a referendum on an Islamist-backed constitution that has sparked weeks of violence and protests.

About 25 million Egyptians were eligible to cast ballots Saturday. Election officials extended the voting to 11 p.m. local time, as they did in the first round of the referendum last week.

Unofficial results from the initial round indicate the new charter was approved by nearly a three-to-two margin .

The Muslim Brotherhood, the former party of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, supports the new constitution. However, members of Egypt's liberal, secular and Christian opposition fear it will erode civil liberties, because it increases the role of Islamic law and does not mention women's rights.

A largely Islamist committee approved the draft constitution last month after liberal and Christian members walked out, complaining their views were being ignored.

It is not clear when final results from the referendum will be announced.