CAIRO: Egyptian voters over–whelmingly backed a new cons–titution that paves the way for the army chief to run for president, results showed on Thursday, but turnout figures will provide a key measure of his popularity.
Initial tallies reported by state media gave 90 percent support for the new charter, which the military-installed authorities say provides greater protection for freedom of speech and women’s rights.
The result of the referendum was always a foregone conclusion with the Muslim Brotherhood, design–ated a “terrorist organization” by the government, calling for a boycott and little sign of a “No” campaign in the run-up to the vote.
Officials have said that army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July, will closely monitor turnout as he mulls going for the top job himself in an election promised for later this year.
Sisi has said he is prepared to run if there is enough popular support and the two-day referendum that wrapped up on Wednesday provides the first concrete test.