Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

15 December 2012

Egypt: Update - Latest Developments in Egypt's Constitutional Referendum

Egyptians have voted in the first round of a referendum on the country's draft constitution. The vote will be broken up over two rounds, with the ... ( Resource: Polls Close in Egypt Constitution Referendum

Egyptians are still casting their votes in the referendum on the country's new constitution which began on Saturday morning.

The Higher Electoral Commission decided to extend voting hours until 11 p.m. due to the high turnout of voters.

Below are the latest developments:

Cairo:

. Long queues of women at a Shubra polling station where a veiled woman verbally assaulted different media outlets and members of Egypt's highest court, an eyewitness said.

. Some polling stations witnessed high turnout, others did not.

. Some Salafis (ultraconservatives) were seen outside one polling station trying to influence voters to vote "yes".

. Some voters complained that ballots were not stamped while a judge complained that there were not enough staff members to assist voters.

. United States envoy in Egypt Anne Patterson visited some polling stations.

. One of the voters reported that she doubted the identity of a judge in a polling station in Cairo and when she asked for an identity check, he responded by witholding her national I.D. to prevent her from voting, he allowed her to cast her vote later though. She filed a case with the incident.

. Some voters complained from the over-crowding in front of some polling stations.

. Some voters complained that some judges refused to reveal their I.D. which caused some arguments between voters and members of the election committee.

. At many polling stations there were no judges but the polling stations were headed by employees of the ministry of education or members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

. Some arguments occurred between members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the popular alliance who accused each other of directing the voters.

. State Council judge complains from the low number of administrators at a polling station.

. President Mohamed Mursi voted at a Heliopolis polling station on Saturday morning.

. Prime Minister Hisham Kandil visited some polling stations to make sure the referendum was carrying on smoothly.

. Coptic Pope Tawadros cast his vote.

. Two journalists were expelled from polling stations in Heliopolis.

. A judge supervising a polling station closed down the election committee for an hour to conduct prayers.

. Police and army forces are present to secure polling stations.

. A calm atmosphere generally prevailed at polling stations.

Alexandria:

. Polling stations witness high turnout.

. More than one polling station witnessed violations - including vehicles distributing flyers calling on voters to vote "yes" for stability.

. Security director of Alexandria insisted that all polling stations were in order and none were closed.

. Two eyewitnesses said that they were prevented from voting by Salafis because they are Copts.

. Absence of some judges at a number of polling stations.

. Presence of Armed Forces and the police to secure polling stations.

North Sinai:

. Low turnout in Arish at some polling stations.

. Judges - who are overseeing polls - arrived late at a number of polling stations.

Sharqiya:

. High turnout of women voters at al-Salam School polling station.

. Overcrowding in front of some polling stations due to high turnout.

. Constitution Party members carry banners saying "Ikhwan (Brotherhood) are liars" in front of Zagazig's Nassereya School polling stations.

. High turnout at al-Adwa village, hometown of President Mohamed Mursi.

. Head of Shura Council Ahmed Fahmi cast his vote at 10.30 am at Nassereya School polling station.

. Most polling stations opened for voters except for a limited number due to the absence of these stations' judges and their employees.

. Average turnout due to cold weather.

. Judges arrived late at 10 polling stations.

Gharbiya:

. Army forces arrested a citizen after assaulting an army member.

. A judge marked a ballot card for a voter with "yes" and placed it in the ballot box against the wishes of the voter.

. Large numbers of Muslim Brotherhood members with laptop in front of Kafr Hegazy School claiming that they assist voters in finding their polling stations while influencing them to vote "yes".

. A court employee impersonated a judge at a polling station. The voting process was put on hold for one hour. Armed Forces escorted the employee outside.

. A university professor organized a sit-in at one polling station after its judge pre-marked the ballots with "yes". The professor wanted to file a complaint but the judge refused and told her if she wanted to file a complaint she shoud go to a police station.

. Skirmishes between a media member and an Armed Forces member at Tahrir School due to the presence of Brotherhood members inside the station. The media representative was not allowed into the station and the station's supervisor refused to show his I.D. card when asked by voters.

. Veiled women who were allowed into two polling stations stood beside the ballot box and attempted to influence voters to vote "yes".

. Ballots were not stamped at Mahalla's Ahmed Orabi School. Head of the polling station refused to acknowledge this incident or get a stamp.

. A large number of women were seen at a polling station trying to influence voters.

. Head of a polling station at Nasser Primary School refused to allow voters into the station although it was empty.

. Scuffles between pro-Muslim Brotherhood members and anti-Brotherhood citizen after the latter tried to put a banner urging voters to vote against the constitution in front of a polling station.

. High turnout and long queues at several polling stations in Mahalla.

Assiut:

. Unstamped ballots and ballots signed by the polling station's judge at two stations, the Popular Current reported.

. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood were seen inside polling stations influencing voters to vote "yes".

. High turnout (20-30 percent) during morning hours.

. Long queues at a significant number of polling stations.

Aswan:

. Propaganda and violations by the Islamist current in front of some polling stations.

. Altercations between political activists and Islamist currents supporters after exchanging accusations of influencing voters.

. Political powers rejecting the constitution were seen distributing a number of unsigned leaflets with the words "Constitution to divide Egypt" on them at Kom Ombo, Edfu and other cities.

Sohag:

. Members of the Freedom and Justice Party and al-Nour Party were seen influencing voters to vote for the constitution in front of two polling stations.

. High turnout since early morning hours.

South Sinai:

. Turnout of voters increases at Tour Sinai's polling stations.

. Citizens complained of lack of organization, accusing members of the Freedom and Justice Party of attempting to influence voters inside and outside polling stations.

. Very low turnout of voters at most poll stations with high security measures except for Sharm al-Sheikh polling stations where the turnout was high.

Daqahliya:

. Incomplete registration records and reports of unstamped ballots at a number of polling stations.

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