CAIRO: Egyptians lined up in numbers to vote Tuesday on a new constitution many said they had not read but would approve anyway in support of the army’s ouster of President Muhammad Mursi.
Polling at most stations got off to a smooth start, but 10 people were killed in clashes between Mursi supporters and police and anti-Mursi groups in central and southern Egypt, security officials said.
The referendum has been billed by authorities as the first in a series of polls that will restore elected government by the end of the year.
For many, it has also become a vote of confidence for army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, the man who overthrew Mursi in July and is now mulling a presidential bid.
“I am voting because it is not only my civic duty, but also to prove that what happened was not a coup,” said Omar, 24, referring to the July 3 ouster of Mursi by the army.
Mursi, Egypt’s first democratically elected and civilian president, was pushed aside by Sissi following massive street protests against his one-year rule that was marred by allegations of power grabs and mismanagement of the economy.
“The referendum is the end of the Muslim Brotherhood. We say yes to the future and no to the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Galal Zaky, a bread vendor owner.
Wafaa Louis Tawadros, a Coptic Christian, said: “The (Muslim) Brotherhood wanted to divide us.”
Sissi, in his trademark sunglasses and flanked by officers and adoring voters, visited a polling station in Cairo. “Work hard. We need the referendum to be completely secured,” he told soldiers guarding the school. “The people must prove to dark terrorism that they fear nothing,” he said after voting.
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