9 killed in clashes as Egypt votes on constitution   2014-01-15 10:15:36            

CAIRO, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Nine people were killed during Egypt's first day of voting on a new constitution Tuesday, as clashes erupted between police and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in different parts of the country.

According to a statement issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Health, clashes between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and security forces led to the death of four people in Sohag, four in Giza and one in Beni Soueif. The statement added that two other people died of natural causes in Cairo and 28 people were injured during the day.

However, a statement from the Supreme Electoral Committee said that the first day of voting had not been affected by the incidents and that the referendum process was unaffected overall. The committee also denied reports that the voting may be extended to a third day.

According to the statement, no results will be revealed until the end of the counting process and checking of all the voters lists.

Egyptians started casting their votes Tuesday on the country's new draft constitution, which is widely seen as a milestone for Egypt's political transition after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted last July.

The two-day referendum opened at 9 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) in the country's 27 governorates and closed at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT).

The new constitution, to replace the one written largely by Morsi's Islamist allies in late 2012, is a first step in the country's future military-backed roadmap.

If the draft document is approved, Egypt will go through parliamentary and presidential elections, and the post-Morsi transitional period will come to an end in mid-2014, six months at most after the referendum.

Many analysts believe a sweeping yes vote may be considered as a new mandate for Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to run for presidency. Some Egyptians, who consider el-Sisi as their hero for backing the Egyptian uprising to oust Morsi in June 30, held up his posters in front of the polling stations.

Two days ago, el-Sisi urged Egyptians to go to the polls, stressing that the Egyptian army would protect them against any terrorist threats.

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Editor: chengyang
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