98 percent of Egyptians reported to approve new constitution

Jan. 18, 2014 at 5:26 PM
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CAIRO, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- More than 98 percent of those who turned out to vote on Egypt's new constitution approved it, the Supreme Electoral Committee said Saturday.

The vote took place Tuesday and Wednesday, with at least nine people killed as Muslim Brotherhood supporters protested and clashed with police. The constitution replaces one written in 2012 by an assembly critics alleged was packed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Ahram Online reported.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned the outcome of Egypt's "turbulent experiment in participatory democracy" does not depend on a single vote. He said leaders must be willing to compromise.

Kerry looked back to the events of the Arab Spring.

"The brave Egyptians who stood vigil in Tahrir Square did not risk their lives in a revolution to see its historic potential squandered in the transition," he said. "They've weathered ups and downs, disappointment and setbacks in the years that followed, and they're still searching for the promise of that revolution. They still know that the path forward to an inclusive, tolerant, and civilian-led democracy will require Egypt's political leaders to make difficult compromises and seek a broad consensus on many divisive issues."

The electoral committee said 38.6 percent of eligible voters turned out for the constitutional referendum -- higher than the 32 percent who went to the polls in 2012 -- and 1.8 percent voted against the constitution.

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