Egyptians are voting today in a constitutional referendum.
It is the first ballot since the army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last year amid protests against his rule.
The army chief has urged Egyptians to back the text and its approval appears a foregone conclusion. That would be a springboard for a widely expected presidential bid by the general.
“Because of his role in supporting the people’s coup, if I may use the term, of June 30, and how the military sided with the will of the people…this led to an immense support of the Egyptians for General al-Sisi to present himself as a potential presidential candidate,” said political analyst Youssef Sidhom, editor in chief of the Christian newspaper al-Watani.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood is calling for a boycott of the referendum rather than a “no” vote.
But the military-backed government has cracked down hard on the group – arresting almost its entire leadership including the deposed president – and declaring it a terrorist organisation.