The Straits Times
Published on Dec 15, 2012

Divided Egypt votes on new constitution


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.