Egypt referendum enters second day

Deadly clashes marked the first day of vote on the amended constitution

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Egyptians are heading to the polls for a second day on Wednesday to vote on a new constitution suspended following the ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July.

The polls will re-open at 9 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) for the third referendum in three years.

While the military-appointed authorities is pushing for a “yes” vote that would strengthen its status, the Muslim Brotherhood, recently designated as a terrorist organization, called for a boycott of the referendum.

On Tuesday, the first day of voting on the amended charter in Egypt, eleven people were killed and 28 others wounded nationwide in confrontations between the Muslim Brotherhood supporters and police, according to the Health Ministry.

Protest erupted early morning in Alexandria, Bani Suef and the Giza district of Cairo. Police responded firing tear gas.

Meanwhile, a small bomb exploded near a court building in the Imbaba neighborhood of Giza, across the river from Cairo, damaging a court building but injuring no one, a police official said.

Still, the first day of vote was reported to be broadly peaceful despite the clashes as Egypt’s military and police forces had been put on high alert, with some 160,000 soldiers and more than 200,000 policemen deployed nationwide.

The referendum is a milestone in the political transition plan the army-backed government has billed as the path to democracy after Mursi was overthrown following protests against his one-year rule.

The vote is also seen as a test of popularity for army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who led the ouster of Mursi.

The charter is a heavily amended version of a constitution written by Mursi’s Islamist allies and ratified in December 2012 with some 64 percent of the vote but with a nationwide turnout of just over 30 percent.