Mursi's Allies Claim Egyptians Voted for Draft Constitution
Islamists allied to President Mohamed Mursi today claimed that Egyptians have voted in favour of a controversial draft constitution during a referendum, but opposition accused them of "vote rigging" and irregularities.

Muslim Brotherhood members claimed that their tally showed the voters backed the draft constitution in the first round of a two-stage referendum held yesterday.

The unofficial results showed that 61 per cent of the votes favored the new charter while 38.7 per cent were against it, after counting 58 per cent of the ballots.

Majority of the voters in the capital Cairo have rejected the draft, with 57 per cent opposing it. In Gharbiya governorate, 52 per cent opposed the draft, the Egypt Independent newspaper reported.

However, the support for the draft was received in governorates like South Sinai (63 per cent), North Sinai (82 per cent), Sohag (79 per cent) Assiut (76 per cent) Sharqiya (66 per cent) and Aswan (74 per cent), it said.

The second round of the referendum is scheduled for next Saturday, after which the official result would be announced.

President Mursi and his allies have endorsed the draft and campaigned heavily in its favour. Mostly secular opponents say it is poorly drafted and overtly favours Islamists.

The National Salvation Front, the umbrella opposition group, said it was deeply concerned about irregularities, such as directing voters outside polling stations to vote 'yes'.

In a statement, the group expressed "deep concern... Over the number of irregularities and violations in the holding of the referendum". This, it alleged, pointed to a "clear desire for vote-rigging by the Muslim Brotherhood".

The allegations also include; unsealed ballot papers and absence of judges to monitor the polls.

During the polling yesterday, people queued in long lines at polling stations in Cairo, Alexandria, Daqahliya, Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Assiut, Sohag, Aswan, North Sinai and South Sinai.

The referendum came after violent clashes that left eight people dead on December 5 amid a highly polarised political climate. Soldiers joined police outside polling stations to secure referendum after deadly protests.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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