Huge Egyptian turnout leads to extended voting

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Huge Egyptian turnout leads to extended voting

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Huge queues have been visible everywhere in Egypt where voting in the constitutional referendum is taking place today. Among the first to vote was President Mohammed Morsi.

Two votes have had to be organised, the second on December 22, because some of Egypt’s judges have boycotted the vote and there are not enough willing officials to monitor polling stations. Turnout is so high voting may be extended into Sunday, and has already been extended by several hours.

After violence in the days leading up to the poll, today has been quiet. Over half of Egypt’s electorate is due to vote today, with both Cairo and Alexandria included in the first round. The results will not be published until both rounds are concluded.

“I feel that the country will be stable and that people will resume their work and interests, because the situation has been frozen for two years and the country is in a mess. I hope that god will offer good things for the country, so I’ll vote ‘yes’, not ‘no’ ,” said one hijab-wearing woman.

“This day is not a good thing for us because we are forced to vote on the whole constitution, articles containing poison and defects. This constitution has been created for slaves, it’s a big shame on Egypt to be voting it, and I think disaster is coming if we carry on with the same approach,” said another woman, in big sunglasses and furs.

These two women are emblematic of the division in society that our reporter has been witnessing.

“With ‘yes’ or ‘no’ Egyptians move today into a new phase in the history of their young revolution, to vote on the new draft constitution which has already led to a split in the state apparatus, demonstrations, and clashes. Egyptians hope this will end as soon as the result is announced,” says our reporter Mohammed Shaikhibrahim.