Egypt's first round: 57% vote for the controversial constitution
Polling station officials count ballots in Cairo on Saturday at the end of the first day of vote in a referendum on a new constitution. (AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD KHALED)
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In the first round of voting, Egyptians narrowly passed the controversial new constitution, according to unofficial tallies released on Sunday.
While Cairo and Gharbeya voted 'no', all other cities backed the charter. The second round of voting, set to take place next Saturday, is expected to return the same results.
President Morsi's rushed constitution has been criticized extensively by liberals in the country. The document makes almost no provision for freedom of expression and appears to consign women to a role in the house.
The Egyptian president pushed through the charter following his announcement that he would give himself extensive new powers last month, effectively setting him above the law. A series of widescale protests followed, including violent clashes between demonstrators and police.
Having previously announced that they would boycott the most recent referendum, liberal parties such as the National Salvation Front and Mohamed ElBaradei's al-Dostour party, conceded to voting.
However, many liberals were undecided whether to vote or not. Bassem Mostafa, one of the original organizers of the 2011 revolution, said: "Everyone agreed that boycotting was not the best option. The liberals are more organized now and the Muslim Brotherhood has lost a lot of support on the streets. But we have been protesting for two years and it feels useless to continue."
Ahmed Ebeid, another veteran protestor and manager of environmental company, Sun Infinite Energy, decided against voting: "I'm just too disappointed. Let's hope a younger, less corrupt generation will take over soon and finally come to the conclusion that there is no winner or loser here and that we have to learn to live together," he said.