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Egypt vice-president Mekki resigns as constitution vote nears end

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Egypt vice-president Mekki resigns as constitution vote nears end
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Voting in Egypt has again been extended by several hours at the end of the second, decisive round of the hotly-contested constitutional referendum.

Polling stations were still open when news came through that Egypt’s vice-president had resigned. Mahmoud Mekki, a former senior judge, took a leading role in hosting unity talks called by Mohammed Mursi. The reason is not known.

The first round of voting last week found 57 per cent in favour of the new charter for governing the country. Drafted by Islamists, it prompted weeks of protests and violence.

Queues formed early, but there have been some complaints of irregularities.

Film director Khaled Youssef said:
“I will approve the results if the vote is fair, but I see that there was some minor fraud in the first round of votes and in this round it was more serious. I think the fraud will continue.”

The prime minister Hisham Qandil turned out to vote and said that police and armed forces had provided tight security to ensure that the ballot took place correctly.

Islamist supporters of the president say the constitution is vital to move the country towards democracy.