Live Updates: Egyptians Go To Polls On First Day Of Constitution Vote

08:55 In Dokki, a district in Giza, queues outside closed polling stations are not very long yet, but a few people have gathered to wait, says Ahram Online reporter Lamia Hassan. She says that most of the voters are older people, and there are some chairs set out in front of the polling station for those voters who may need to rest while waiting.

Hassan reports that there is heavy security presence at the polling stations she passed so far on Behouth Street in Dokki.

08:50 Voting day started with an explosion; a bomb shattered the facade of a court in Imbaba, a district on the Giza side of the Nile, at about 7:40am. There are no reported injuries.

Egypt has seen a number of bomb attacks since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi last July. Most have been in Sinai, but a blast on 24 December outside a police building in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people. The authorities have linked the violence to the Muslim Brotherhood, although the group denies any connection.

It remains to be seen how the explosion will affect turnout.

08:45 Welcome to Ahram Online’s live coverage of the first day of voting in Egypt’s 2013 constitutional referendum.

This constitution is the first electoral test in the roadmap put in place by the transitional authorities that replaced Mohamed Morsi afer his ouster in July 2013.

Over 52,742,139 Egyptians are registered to vote at the polls, which will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Egyptians living abroad have already cast their votes at embassies and consulates. Turnout was low, which the foreign ministry attributed to the scrapping of postal votes.

The last time Egyptians went to the polls was in December 2012 — to vote on a new constitution, written by an assembly that critics said was dominated by Islamists. That constitution was approved by voters, and remained in place until Morsi’s ouster in July 2013, when it was suspended.

The new document was drafted in the months following Morsi’s exit, and finalised in December. For analysis of the differences between the previous charter and the one which Egyptians will be voting on this time round, see here.

It seems likely that the “yes” vote will be substantial; unlike last year, the “no” campaign has been almost invisible. Most liberal and leftist parties support the constitution.

The Strong Egypt Party, which supported Morsi’s ouster but has since criticised the transitional authorities, has condemned what it described as a “crackdown” on those campaigning for a “no” vote, and decided to boycott the poll in protest.Other groups opposed to the constitution include the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition, which will be boycotting the vote.

Polls are due to open at 9am.

Source : Ahram