98% vote for Egypt constitution amid low turnout

Family members run away from tear gas during clashes between Egypt
Family members run away from tear gas during clashes between Egypt's security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 17, 2014.
Amid a very low voter turnout, Egypt’s election committee claims 98.1 percent approval of a new, military-backed constitution in the first referendum since the US-backed Army ousted the nation's first freely-elected president.

Egypt's High Election Commission announced Saturday that only 38.6 percent of the country's more than 53 million eligible voters took part in the two-day poll.

This is the first vote since the nation’s powerful military deposed Egypt's former President Mohammed Morsi, following massive protests in July.

Despite the low turnout and widespread boycott of the vote, Egypt’s military-installed officials consider the vote as the key in legitimizing the country's caretaker government and its plan for parliamentary and presidential elections.

But Morsi's supporters and his outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, who boycotted the vote, have described the referendum as a sham, alleging massive electoral fraud.

Meanwhile, pro-Morsi supporters are calling for further protests following a day of deadly clashes on Friday with security forces in the capital, Cairo. Five people were reported killed during the clashes.

RA/MB

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