12/22/2012, 00.00
EGYPT
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Egypt split at second round vote on Muslim Brotherhood constitution

The vote is taking place in 17 provinces, among the most conservative. In the first round only 30% of the population participated. At least 250 thousand soldiers and police must ensure order. ElBaradei: The country is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Egyptians have begun voting for a new constitution called for by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis and opposed by much of the population. Today is the second round of voting, which takes place in 17 provinces who did not vote last week. The areas covered in this round are in Upper Egypt, considered more conservative and Islamic. For this reason a result in favor of the draft constitution is expected.

According to unofficial results, the vote in the first round on December 15 last, was 56% in favor of the constitution. But the turnout was very low: only 30%.

The figures underscore that the country is very divided on this constitution, drawn up by an assembly consisting only of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis. The opposition - Christian, secular, moderate Muslims and women - accuse the Islamists of attempting to stifle society in a Shariah regime, with less respect for human rights, minorities and women.

On the eve of the vote in the first round there were clashes between Islamists and opposition, with dozens wounded. At least 250,000 police and soldiers were deployed to ensure order.

The country suffers from instability also because of the attempts of President Mohamed Morsi to assume dictatorial powers, above all over the judiciary.

One of the opposition leaders, Mohamed El Baradei, the former head of the UN atomic agency, has pushed the Egyptians to vote "no" to the constitution and said that "the country is on the brink of bankruptcy."

 

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