24-07-2021 11:43 PM Jerusalem Timing

Egypt Voting on Constitution Resumes for Second Day

Egypt Voting on Constitution Resumes for Second Day

Egyptians resumed voting Wednesday in a constitutional referendum, with turnout expected to hold the key to a likely presidential bid by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after clashes killed eleven the previous day.

Egypt referendumEgyptians resumed voting Wednesday in a constitutional referendum, with turnout expected to hold the key to a likely presidential bid by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after clashes killed eleven the previous day.

Polling had gone ahead smoothly amid tight security at most stations across Egypt on Tuesday, but sporadic clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohammad Morsi and their opponents and police left eleven dead.

The constitution, which replaces the one passed under Morsi, is expected to be approved despite a boycott by his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

The Egyptian government hopes a large turnout in favour of the new constitution will bolster its disputed authority, while army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will monitor it for an "indicator" of his popularity, an official close to the general said.

Interim president Adly Mansour's government has pledged the referendum will be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.

It is unclear how many Egyptians will have voted by the end of Wednesday, but the constitution appears certain to pass.

Backers of the charter are hoping it will receive the support of at least 70 percent of votes cast.

US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf, meanwhile, said Washington was concerned by reports of violence during the vote but added it was awaiting reports from "independent observers on the technical merits of the ongoing referendum".

She also said a clause in a Congress bill expected to pass on Friday allows the White House to unfreeze $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) in aid to Cairo if it can certify that Egypt "has held a constitutional referendum, and is taking steps to support a democratic transition".

In October, Washington suspended the annual aid following a deadly crackdown by the Egyptian government on Morsi's supporters.