Turnout Low, VP Quits in Egypt Constitution Vote
Vice President Mahmoud Mekki steps down, but it's not clear why
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 22, 2012 2:55 PM CST
Updated Dec 22, 2012 3:38 PM CST
Amnah Sayyed Moussa, 85, casts her vote for the second round of a referendum on a disputed Islamist constitution in Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012.    (Amr Nabil)
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(Newser) – Egyptians voted today in the second and final phase of a referendum on an Islamist-backed constitution that has polarized the nation, with little indication that the expected passage of the charter will end the political crisis in which the country is mired. Voter turnout was low, the Guardian reports, but Islamist President Mohammed Morsi is likely to emerge from a bruising month-long battle with a narrow victory for the constitution he and his Islamist allies sought. Yet he faced bleeding from his administration: Hours before polls closed, Morsi's vice president, Mahmoud Mekki, announced his resignation.

Shortly afterward, state TV reported the resignation of Central Bank Governor Farouq el-Oqdah. But then it carried a denial by the Cabinet that he had stepped down. The administration has been trying to convince el-Oqdah not to quit, at a time when Egypt's pound has been losing value and a crucial deal for a much-needed IMF loan of $4.8 billion has been postponed. Mekki's move was in part expected since the new charter would eliminate the vice presidency post. But Mekki hinted that the hurried departure could be linked to Morsi's policies. Click for more, or see why the opposition says the voting was rigged.
 

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