Egypt's opposition alleges voter fraud in referendum on constitution
The Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood has said Egypt's controversial new constitution passed with 64 percent of the vote, while opposition leaders have called for investigations of alleged voter fraud.
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Turnout for the vote was 32 percent of Egypt's more than 51 million eligible voters, according to the Muslim Brotherhood. That was significantly lower than other elections since the uprising ended in February 2011. The opposition has pointed to the low turnout as well as allegations of violations in the voting to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the referendum.Skip to next paragraph
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The Brotherhood said 64 percent voted "yes" to the constitution in a tally of both stages of voting. For Saturday's second stage only, the Brotherhood said 71 percent of those who voted said "yes" with 99 percent of polling stations accounted for.
As expected, it was a jump from the first round of voting when about 56 percent said "yes." The provinces that voted in the second round were known for being a base for Brotherhood supporters.
Only about eight million of the 25 million Egyptians eligible to vote in the second stage — a turnout of about 30 percent — cast their ballots. Some 32 percent of eligible voters participated in the first round.
The local media has reported results similar to the Brotherhood's. State-owned Al-Ahram newspaper said in its English language online version that 16.2 million eligible voters cast their vote, and the constitution passed with a 63.96 percent. Those numbers reflected totals of the two stages of voting.
The National Salvation Front alleged the vote was marred by lack of complete judicial supervision, which led to overcrowding that pushed down the voting rate. It also charged there was interference by those who were supposed to be supervising the vote, with some instructing people to vote "yes." Many judges who traditionally supervise elections boycotted supervising the vote.
"We don't think the results reflect the true desires of the Egyptian people," Khaled Dawoud, the front's spokesman, told The Associated Press.
The Front said that regardless of the results, it welcomed the participation of many who rejected the constitution and refused to consider it a vote on Islamic law. The group vowed to continue to "democratically" work to change the constitution and praised the high turnout of women.
The Islamists say Islam is core to Egypt's identity and they view the constitution as a foundation to move forward, elect a parliament and build state institutions.
The new constitution will come into effect once official results are announced.
Once that happens, Morsi is expected to call for the election of parliament's lower chamber, the more powerful of the legislature's two houses, within two months.
The opposition said that even though it is challenging the results of the referendum, it will continue to prepare for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Until the lower chamber is elected, the normally toothless upper house, or Shura Council, will have legislative powers.
On Sunday, Morsi appointed 90 new members to the Islamist-controlled Shura Council as part of his efforts to make the council more representative. The new appointments included at least 25 Islamists and eight Christians. They also include eight women, four of them Christians.
The opposition front said it did not want its members nominated to the Shura Council.
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