Voters overwhelmingly supported Egypt's military-backed constitution

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Voters overwhelmingly supported Egypt's military-backed constitution

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In Egypt, 98.1 percent of those who voted in a constitutional referendum supported the government. But the turnout was low: just 38.6 of the electorate took part.

The result comes as no surprise. There was little or no trace of a campaign against the new constitution. In the lead up to the vote, police arrested those campaigning for a “no” vote on the referendum, leaving little room for arguing against the document.

It was supported by Egyptians who also backed the army overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement Mursi was a leading member of, called for a boycott of the vote.

Egypt’s top general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the ouster of Mursi. He’s expected to announce his candidacy for president within a few days.

Brotherhood sympathisers hold Sisi responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Mursi supporters killed in a crackdown on the movement.

Other Egyptians see him as the kind of strong man needed to restore stability after three years of turmoil.

Activists and monitoring groups have raised serious concerns over the atmosphere in which voting took place, with US-based Democracy International saying that “arrests and detention of dissenting voices” took place ahead of the poll.