Egypt to Announce Results of Constitutional Referendum
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Egyptian authorities are to announce Saturday the results of a constitutional referendum that the interim government hailed as a ringing endorsement of the army's ouster of president Mohamed Mursi.
Initial tallies suggest the referendum held on Tuesday and Wednesday passed with an overwhelming majority, in what the military-installed government said was a strong stamp of approval for the overthrow of Egypt's first freely elected president.
But Mursi's supporters, harried by a deadly crackdown since his removal in July, vowed more protests and faced off with police on Friday in clashes that killed three people.
Flagship state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram said the turnout for the referendum was more than 40 percent of the country's 53 million registered voters, with the "overwhelming majority" voting yes.
It had earlier reported that 98 percent voted in support of the charter, an expected result after Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood movement and its Islamist allies boycotted the vote.
A Brotherhood-led coalition called for further protests culminating in rallies on January 25, the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak.
The new constitution will replace the one adopted under Mursi in a 2012 referendum and passed with 33 percent voter turnout. It has done away with much of the Mursi's constitution.
On Friday, two men were killed in Cairo and another in clashes in Fayoum, southwest of the capital, the health ministry said, as police clamped down in what has become a weekly ritual in a massive crackdown on pro-Mursi protests.
The interior ministry said police arrested 123 suspected protesters in Cairo and other cities.
The government hoped a large turnout in the referendum would bolster its democratic credentials and further marginalise the Islamists.
Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who toppled Mursi, was closely monitoring the turnout as an indicator of support for a presidential bid later this year, military officials said.