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Egypt leaders hope referendum grants stamp of legitimacy

Published on Jan 12, 2014 2:23 PM

CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt will hold a referendum this week on a new constitution, in a vote seen as a test of popularity for army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he eyes the presidency after ousting Mohamed Mursi.

The military-installed interim government bills the referendum on Tuesday and Wednesday as the first of several polls it says will restore elected rule by the end of the year.

The turn out, and the percentage of Yes votes, will be monitored by Sisi as he decides whether to run for president, military sources say.

Mr Sisi is easily the most popular leader in the country after he toppled the divisive Mursi in July, but the Islamist's followers revile the general for what they call a "coup" against Egypt's first freely elected and civilian president.

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