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Egyptian Constitution Approved, Early Results Show

Egyptians have approved a new constitution that will deepen the influence of Islamic law in their country, but will probably lead to further divisions after a month-long political crisis.

Preliminary results yesterday from a two-day national referendum showed that the charter has passed. The Muslim Brotherhood and state media said that 64 percent of voters said yes to the Islamist-backed constitution, though the results are not expected to be officially announced until today.

Many of the charter’s supporters said they hoped that the approval of the new code of law would bring stability to Egypt’s streets after weeks of political crisis and nearly two years of uncertainty since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. But the constitution is unlikely to result in newfound unity.

Opposition leaders oyesterday condemned the preliminary results of the vote, saying that the constitution – proposed hastily by an Islamist-dominated assembly – was illegitimate and that the referendum was marred by fraud.

Opposition groups will continue their protests against elected president Mohammed Morsi’s government, and pursue “all political means” in order to “bring down the constitution,” said Amr Hamzawy, a leader of the opposition National Salvation Front at a midday press conference in Cairo.

The recent conflict, which devolved over four weeks into sporadically violent street battles, pit Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood backers against a broad coalition of liberals, leftists and Christians over the balance of power and the charter that will define how the new Egypt is governed.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist supporters said Sunday that the vote had proceeded fairly, reflecting the democratic will of the people.

Both the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and ultra-conservative Salafist Nour Party issued statements yesterdaycalling for a reconciliation.

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