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Divided Egypt votes on new constitution

Published on Dec 15, 2012 2:28 PM
A girl stands with her mother who is waiting outside a polling center to vote in referendum on Egypt's new constitution in Cairo on Dec 15, 2012. Polling stations opened on Saturday in a referendum on a new constitution shaped by Islamist allies of Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi and which his liberal rivals say deepens divisions in the nation. REUTERS

CAIRO (AFP) - Egyptians began voting on Saturday on a new constitution supported by the ruling Islamists but bitterly contested by a secular-leaning opposition.

Polls opened in Cairo, Alexandria and eight other provinces and are scheduled to close at 7:00 pm in the first round. The rest of the country votes on December 22.

Alexandria, the country's second largest city, was the scene of clashes on the eve of the referendum between opponents of the draft charter and Islamists after a cleric told worshippers at a mosque to support the constitution.

Hundreds of protesters later laid siege to the mosque, where the cleric took refuge.

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