Egyptian Voters Head to the Polls for New Constitution

An Egyptian army soldier stands guard in front of a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (Credit: AP / Amr Nabil)

An Egyptian army soldier stands guard in front of a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (Credit: AP / Amr Nabil)

Egyptian voters hit the polls Tuesday to have their say over a proposed new draft of the nation’s constitution that may usher in fresh elections by the summer.

The referendum marks the first time Egyptian voters have cast their ballots since a summer coup that ousted the country’s first freely elected president and is seen as a test of legitimacy for Egypt’s post-coup leaders.

Moments before the poll began, a violent blast resounded across the capital. The explosion took place at a court complex in the Imbaba district, according to Reuters. No casualties were immediately reported.

Ahead of the vote, some expected violence in a country where political divisions run deep and the Muslim Brotherhood, which controlled the country last year, is now outlawed as a terrorist organization.

“There is a chance there will be a lot of violence on referendum day and it will disrupt the holding of the referendum,” said Michele Dunne, a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C.

“But most likely, the referendum will be held, it will carry,” she said.

Security forces have been deployed at polling stations nationwide to secure the vote, which is part of a political plan announced last August by Egypt’s army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.

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SOURCE: Sarah Lynch
USA TODAY