New Egyptian Constitution 'Approved'
Exit polls show that Egyptians have approved a new constitution in this weekend's nationwide referendum. According to initial reports from Egyptian state media, approximately 63 percent of voters supported the new document.
As the second and final phase of voting was taking place on Saturday, however, Vice President Mahmoud Mekki announced his resignation. Mekki will be the eighth of President Mohamed Morsi's top advisers to have left the Cairo political inner circle within the past month.
Although official results on the constitution referendum are not expected until Monday, if the Constitution passes, parliamentary elections must be held within the next 90 days.
Voter turnout was estimated at only 30 percent, as polling on the document was boycotted by a variety of sectors.
Women without veils complained they were not allowed to vote for the new Egyptian anti-secular constitution. Mass protests in the first stage of the voting last Tuesday. Egypt's opposition alleged there were massive polling violations after Islamists backing Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi claimed victory in the first round of a referendum on a new charter. Thousands of women complained they were not allowed to vote because they were not veiled, and Christian women also said they were turned away.
Some 25 million Egyptians were eligible to cast their ballots on the Constitution, which was authored by a National Assembly committee comprised primarily of Islamists - hence, the boycott.
Opposition activists have contended that the document fails to protect human rights and freedoms that were the core values they fought for in the January 25 Revolution that toppled the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak. The new Constitution, they said, does not protect the rights of women, nor does it ensure the rights of Coptic Christians, who comprise some 10 percent of Egypt's population.