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Opposition Plans More Protests as Morsi Claims Victory
December 17, 2012

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As President Mohamed Morsi cited a report that 57 percent of voters had approved of Egypt's draft constitution, opposition leaders were urging another mass protest against the referendum and its authors.

Mohamed El-Baradei, a leader of the opposition group the National Salvation Front, called on protesters to gather in large numbers in Cairo's Tahrir Square to speak out. El-Baradei, a Nobel Peace laureate, also urged Morsi to scrap the constitution and instead engage in a national dialog with opposition leaders. Opposition observers reported voting irregularities, including ballot papers not receiving official stamps, Morsi supporters campaigning inside places of voting, and Christian voters being turned away. Already, a large group of women in Alexandria had alleged that they had been refused the right to vote because they were not wearing veils, as required by law.

Egyptians went to the polls by the millions on Saturday in 10 of the country's 27 provinces, including in the two largest cities, Cairo and Alexandria. Polling will be open in the rest of the country this coming Saturday. Final results will follow. Morsi has said that he will relinquish his expansive presidential powers once the constitution is in place. He would still be in charge of the country's legislative function, however, because a new Parliament would need to be elected. The draft constitution stipulates that parliamentary elections take place within three months.

The election report from the Muslim Brotherhood estimated that turnout on the first day of voting was 32 percent of eligible voters, a total far lower than that seen for the parliamentary elections in 2011.

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