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Egyptians Vote On New Constitution


An Egyptian official counts ballots after polls closed in a 2012 vote.
Egyptians have queued outside polling stations amid tight security to vote in a two-day referendum on a new constitution. The vote is the country's first since the military-backed overthrow of Islamist President Muhammad Morsi six months ago.

His Muslim Brotherhood is boycotting the referendum.

The revised constitution -- drafted by a mostly secular commission -- does not contain the Islamic references that had characterized the controversial constitution adopted in 2012 under Morsi.

Supporters of the charter say it guarantees individual freedoms, religious liberty, and women’s rights.

Critics say it gives special privileges to Egypt’s military.

A bomb exploded outside a Cairo court just before polling stations opened, damaging the facade of the building. At least 11 people were killed in violence across Egypt.

Around 53 million Egyptians are eligible to vote.

The referendum is a key element of a transitional plan that the government says is aimed at restoring democracy after Morsi’s ouster.

Some 360,000 police officers and soldiers have been deployed nationwide.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa