Egypt: As Egyptians Vote On New Constitution, Ban Calls for Peaceful, Inclusive Referendum

With Egyptians casting their votes in a referendum on a new constitution, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on them to express their differences without violence and ensure that the next phase of their country's transition is carried out peacefully.

Mr. Ban "stresses the importance of respect for freedom of assembly and expression, as well as commitment to non-violence," his spokesperson said in a statement.

"The Secretary-General encourages all Egyptians to ensure that the next phase of the transition is conducted in an inclusive, peaceful, and transparent manner."

Egypt has been undergoing a democratic transition since the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak nearly three years ago in the wake of mass protests. Last July, renewed protests, in which dozens of people were killed and wounded, led to the military deposing President Mohamed Morsy. The Constitution was then suspended and an interim government set up.

The current referendum on the proposed constitution is supposed to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections. Media reports say that clashes have already led to several deaths today.

"The Secretary-General calls on all Egyptians to express their differences without violence," his spokesperson said. "He continues to express the support of the United Nations for an Egyptian-led transition process that adheres to democratic principles and upholds the human rights of all Egyptians."

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