|Egyptians vote for new charter
Egyptians began voting on a draft constitution that represents a key milestone in a military-backed roadmap put in place after the Islamist president was overthrown in July.
The two-day balloting also deals a heavy blow to the Muslim Brotherhood's campaign for the reinstatement of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and paves the way for a likely presidential run by the nation's top general, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, AP reports.
Shortly before polls opened, an explosive device went off outside a Cairo courthouse in the densely populated neighborhood of Imbaba. The blast damaged the front of the building and shattered windows in nearby buildings.
Long lines of voters began to form nearly two hours before polling stations opened in Cairo, including in Imbaba, where the blast promptly whipped up anti-Brotherhood sentiment with chants and shouting against the Islamist group.
“The dogs, the traitors!'' shouted a man on a motorcycle as he passed by the courthouse after the blast. A line of voters in a nearby polling station chanted in unison: “Long live Egypt!''
A crowd of several hundred angry residents gathered outside the courthouse, some carrying posters of el-Sissi. “Everyone must go now and vote to show those dogs, the Brothers,'' shouted one man.
The Tuesday and Wednesday balloting is the first electoral test for the popularly backed coup that ousted Morsi and his Brotherhood.
A comfortable “yes'' vote and a respectable turnout would bestow legitimacy on the cascade of events that followed the coup while undermining the Islamists' argument that Morsi remains the nation's elected president.
Morsi's Brotherhood, which is now branded as a terrorist group, has called for a boycott of the vote. Morsi himself is facing three separate trials on charges that carry the death penalty.