Final phase of Egypt's constitution vote ends
[Al Ahram] On a relatively uneventful day, Egyptians in seventeen governorates voted in the second phase of the referendum on the new constitution.
In a throwback to the first phase in the poll last Saturday the opposition has complained of violations that threaten the legitimacy of the whole process while the Islamist parties, especially the Moslem Brüderbund, rejected the opposition's allegations.
In the governorate of Ismailia on the Suez Canal members of the leading opposition's National Salvation Front announced the withdrawal of their delegates from monitoring the referendum in the afternoon to object to "massive violations."
On the other hand, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Board member Mohamed Gamal Heshmat accused rights groups and monitors of "falsely" creating problems in an attempt to taint the image of the referendum.
Accusations of voting improprieties throughout the day included rigging votes, banning rival voters from entering polling stations, and attempts by partisans to influence voters as they cast ballots.
Observers say that the turnout in this phase will not be higher than the first phase that saw about 32 per cent participation.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Electoral Commission had extended the voting hours from 7pm to 11pm due to "high voter turnout."
Posted by: Fred 2012-12-23