Egyptians vote to rewrite constitution

Landslide approval for referendum on constitution

Over 98 per cent of Egyptian voters have backed the referendum held on 14-15 January for a new constitution.

The results were announced as a success by interim president and head of the supreme constitutional court Adly Mansour, in a televised address to the nation on 19 January. Voter turnout was 38.6 per cent.

Egyptians voted on whether or not to accept a new draft constitution to replace the one drawn up largely by Islamists and overseen by former president Mohammed Morsi before his ousting by the military on 3 July.

The results are viewed as an endorsement of the military-backed interim government's transition plans for parliamentary and presidential elections later this year.

The dates for the elections have yet to be announced and it is still not known which will come first, parliamentary or presidential. Egypt's army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has emerged as a popular potential candidate to succeed Mansour as president, and is expected to announce his candidacy soon.

The referendum was boycotted by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood which alleges massive electoral fraud.

The Brotherhood accuses the army of staging a military coup against Morsi last July. Since then the movement has faced a crackdown on its leaders, its supporters and assets by the government which recently declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

Morsi, who has been in prison since his removal from office, now faces a fourth trial on new charges of insulting the judiciary. His trial on charges of inciting the murder of protesters outside the presidential palace in 2012 is scheduled for 1 February.

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