Update: Polling stations officially close nationwide

Update: Polling stations officially close nationwide

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Sat, 22/12/2012 - 22:00

On Saturday, 22 December, the second phase of the referendum on the draft constitution begins in the country's remaining 17 governorates. Ten governorates voted during the first phase last weekend, after which initial results showed a turnout of about 31 percent and a prevalence of votes in favor of the draft by about 57 percent. During the second phase, 25,495,237 voters are eligible to take part in the polls. The voting is taking place in 176 general polling staions and 6,274 sub-stations in Giza, Qalyubiya, Monufiya, Beheira, Kafr al-Sheikh, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, Marsa Matrouh, Red Sea, New Valley, Beni Suef, Fayoum, Minya, Luxor and Qena. Egypt Independent provides updates on the voting process in those different places throughout the day.

 

11:00 pm: Polling stations have officially closed nationwide in phase two of the referendum on the constitution.

10:00 pm: Many activists have reported that some polling stations in Qalyubiya and Qena were closed two hours before the official closing time of 11 pm.

The website Dostorasly.com reported that the judge supervising polling station number 44 in the city of Shibin al-Kanater, Qalyubiya, has announced the results, with 132 voters saying “no,” while 112 voters said yes.

In Qena, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that two polling stations were closed in the city of Abu Techt, and eyewitnesses say that the judges supervising the vote have started the count.

9:00 pm: MENA has reported that the high election commission has sacked a judge who was directing people to vote "yes" in the referendum.

The judge, who was stationed at a polling station in the city of Tookh, Qalyubiya, was replaced by another judge after the commission discovered that he was directing voters.

8:30 pm: Members of the Freedom and Justice Party are seizing the Kerdasa police station in southern Giza, after some judges filed a complaint against members of the party.

The operations room of the Judges Club said that three of its members were observing the vote in one of Kerdasa's polling stations, but members of the FJP prevented them from leaving the station.

The operations room said that the three judges were kept in the polling station until the police came and released them.  

7:30 pm: Voting is ongoing in the Beheira Governorate with a heavy turnout well into the evening, particularly among female and rural voters.

Azza Mahfouz, an observer with the National Council for Human Rights and a member of the Strong Egypt Party, cited various violations at her polling station in Abu Hams, including the intimidation of female “no” voters by women belonging to the Islamist current.

Mahfouz cited other violations, including one report of a member of the Popular Current who was falsely charged with weapons possession, as ways of scaring people from voting "no." She reported that papers identical to the ballots and marked with “yes” are being distributed to illiterate voters, as well as voters being directed to vote “yes” inside the polling station.

At another polling station, there was no phosphoric ink and chaos ensued due to the presence of one judge for two substations. Filming was also banned there, according to Mahfouz.

Voters Egypt Independent spoke to were split.

Sahar Nasr, an Al-Azhar teacher in her 40s, voted "yes," because, she says, “The constitution has good articles, including pensions and one that ties salary to productivity."

Rights groups and economists, however, have criticized this particular article since productivity is also controlled by factors such as modern equipment, for which a worker should not be held accountable.

Nasr also said she voted to approve the constitution because President Mohamed Morsy "is a good man and better than others."

On the other hand, Rasha Rady, a 26-year-old member of the April 6 Youth Movement, voted “no” because “the constitution allows military trials and the powers of the president are vast."

Article 198 establishes the possibility of trying civilians before military courts if the crime “harms the Armed Forces,” the definition of which is left to the law, despite a vociferous and widespread campaign against this practice in the past two years.

"The Muslims Brotherhood has divided the country," Rady said, blaming them for inciting clashes that have broken out over the past month.

Meanwhile, two brothers, Karim and Ahmed Hussain, had differing viewpoints.

Karim, a 27-year-old with a bachelor’s in tourism and hotels, works as a welder. He voted "yes" because he longs for stability and thinks the constitution is fine, adding that even if it's not "good enough, it wouldn't matter."

He also refuses to follow the same line as “Amr Hamzawy, who wears a bracelet, nor Hamdeen [Sabbahi] who wants to set the country on fire.”

His brother Ahmed, a 22-year-old technician, voted "no" because he does not trust the Muslim Brotherhood or their principles, saying they “love themselves and work only for their own interests."

6:45 pm: The April 6 Youth Movement reported a power outage in about 100 polling stations in Monufiya and Kafr al-Sheikh governorates.

Meanwhile, the campaign “No Military Trials of Civilians” has reported that the army has arrested Adil Mossad Farah, who was accused of attacking an army officer near a polling station in the city of Faraskour, Damietta.

The campaign said that Farah was initially sent to the Faraskour police station in Damietta before being later referred to the military prosecutor. President Mohamed Morsy had issued a decree this month giving the Armed Forces the powers of arrest and detainment during the vote.

6:30 pm: Moustafa Kamel Eissa, governor of Minya, has denied reporters that Coptic voters were prevented from leaving their villages to cast their votes in Minya, which is a Coptic Christian stronghold.

Speaking to the privately owned CBC channel, Eissa said that neither the army nor the police have received any complaints about Copts being prevented from voting. Earlier in the day, some human rights watchdogs reported that Copts in Minya and Qena’s Nagaa Hamadi were prevented from voting.

Meanwhile, Al-Masry Al-Youm has reported that Gameela Ismail, a well-known opposition figure and media host, was denied entry to a polling station in Minya despite having permission to oversee the vote.

 المرحلة الثانية من الاستفتاء على الدستور بإمبابة : الجيزة

6:00 pm: Six injuries were reported during phase two of the referendum on the draft constitution, taking place in 17 governorates Saturday, according to Ministry of Health spokesperson Ahmed Amr.

Two of the injured were in Port Said while three were in Qalyubiya, Suez and Ismailia, with a sixth later reported in Giza. All were transferred to hospitals for treatment.

Meanwhile, Anadolu news agency reported that prominent opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei had been the target of threats from “Hazemoun,” supporters of Salafi former presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who warned him not to cast his ballot in the second round of the referendum.

The agency quoted Ahmed Derag, a senior official at the Constitution Party, as saying that ElBaradei received various threats from unknown persons, making it difficult for him to go and vote.

But Gamal Saber, campaign manager for Abu Ismail, denies such reports, saying that such accusations are attempts at defaming the image of Abu Ismail's supporters.

5:30 pm: Armed Forces members securing polling stations in Abu al-Matamir, Beheira, arrested eight people who climbed the fence of a school to cast their ballots in the referendum, due to the overcrowded queues in front of the school. They were detained in a school room for interrogation; however, they were released after residents of the village intervened. The voting process at the same polling station was stopped for 15 minutes by the judge, due to overcrowding and poor organization.

Meanwhile, polling stations in Hosh Issa, Behaira, started the voting process four hours late, as a result of the supervising judge’s absence and the difficulty of finding a substitute for him on short notice. Voters queued in front of polling stations welcomed the decision to extend the voting period until 11 pm, due to delays and absences among judges.

5:00 pm: The National Women's Council’s operations room, which is monitoring the referendum, reported receiving 75 complaints about violations during phase two of voting, between 8:30 am, when polling stations opened, and 2 pm.

Separately, while boycotting overseeing the referendum, the Judges Club is gathering and documenting reports of violations. The club’s operations room has received 52 complaints so far, ranging from late openings of polling stations to civil society organizations being prevented from monitoring the vote.

The most significant violations reported by the National Women’s Council included judges influencing voters' decisions by urging them to vote "yes." At one polling station in Beheira Governorate, a former discharged officer was found to be impersonating a judge, the council reported. Also prevalent were complaints about religious campaigning inside and outside polling stations, as well as judges refusing to show their credentials to voters.

With a dearth of judges overseeing the ballot boxes, many voters are skeptical of the identity of those present inside voting stations to manage the process.  The same complaints were reported in the first phase of voting in 10 governorates last week, when many monitoring groups and opposition forces reported widescale violations, which they characterized as serious enough to delegitimize the whole voting process and said were as serious as poll violations that took place under the Mubarak regime.

The National Women's Council said it will refer all complaints to the High Judicial Elections Commission as it continues to monitor the voting process until polls close at 11 pm.

Some judges who are overseeing the process have complained that there was no transportation provided to polling stations, causing some stations in remote areas of the 17 governorates voting Saturday to open late, according to the Judges Club. Citizens have also complained of waiting hours in long lines to vote.

4:30 pm: In Giza, the voting process differed from place to place. While it was smooth and calm in some districts, it was tumultuous in others.

At a polling station in the working class district of Omraneya, queues were long and poorly organized. News that polling stations in the area hadn't opened until late in the day seemed to be merely rumors, as many people waiting in line and owners of nearby shops said stations had been operating since the morning. Several polling stations seem by reporters were either overcrowded or completely empty.

Outside a polling station, women waiting outside were getting very agitated, yelling at the military officer for keeping them out and threatening to file complaints. Some had been there for over four hours and saw the queues in other stations moving more smoothly. The women speculated that the station may have been deliberately shut down because many of the voters in the area were Christian, and their fears were fanned by rumors that the supervising judge for the station had refused to work.

However, Egypt Independent found the station operating in the presence of the judge. A large percentage of the women voting at the station were elderly, possibly explaining the line’s slow advancement. Inside the school, elderly women were resting on benches and the floor, and some were being pushed and stepped on as they were leaving the polling station, while other women were yelling as their waits began to reach six hours.

Nawal, a housewife, voted "yes," hoping for stability. She believes those who are calling for a "no" vote don't have the interests of poor people in mind. "Those who live a comfortable life don't care; we are the ones suffering. If people say ‘yes,’ the wheel of production will start moving again," she says.

Nawal had voted for former presidential candidate and current opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi in presidential elections; however, she said that she has lost faith in him and the opposition calling for a "no" vote after he teamed up with the opponents whom he used to criticize. Nawal, who is illiterate, expressed resentment at claims that those voting "yes" were paid or mobilized by the Muslim Brotherhood.

"They think that the illiterate can't think and have to be pushed by someone, but these days are over. Now all the Egyptian people speak up," she said.

Meanwhile, in the middle-class district of Agouza, most polling stations were moving smoothly. Basma Mahmoud, a member of the Popular Current and a supervisor of the referendum, said that a pro-constitution flyer was distributed around the school this morning.

"Things are calm in Agouza, but many judges refuse to show their IDs and are aggressive with voters," she added.

Hossam Eddin Ali, standing in the same station, which is almost deserted, voted "no." He believes the new constitution gives more powers to the president. "The party lists system in elections is still applicable according to the new constitution, and that is a big problem," he said.

Hanan, his wife, also believes the constitution limits freedom of expression and women's rights. The new constitution places limits on freedom of the press and media and gives the president the right to appoint Shura Council members and governors, in addition to the heads of monitoring organizations.

"My five kids are unemployed, that's why I am saying ‘no’ to the constitution," she says.

Yet both her and her husband believe the results will lean toward “yes.”

“They will forge the results,” said Ali.

حافظ سلامة يدلي بصوته في الاستفتاء على الدستور بالسويس

4:00 pm: In Fayoum, the turnout was low and so far no violations had been reported. Many waiting in line to cast their ballots planned to vote "yes," citing stability and the "wheel of production," referring to the state of economic stagnation.

The villages of Fayoum are known to be strongholds of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi groups.

At a polling station in the center of Fayoum, 57-year-old Bakry Farah said, "I only started participating in elections after the revolution." He voted "no" as a way of rejecting the Constituent Assembly, which drafted the constitution amid criticism for its heavy representation of Islamists. “Most people on the panel withdrew. I also do not like the Article 219 expanding on Article 2 about Sharia,” he said, without explaining exactly what he didn't like.

Article 219 is widely described as a compromise to the long debate over the Sharia stipulations in the constitution. The article specifies the principles of Sharia and its jurisprudential and fundamental basis as being enshrined in Sunni schools of thought (madhabs), adding additional limitations to the rather elusive Article 2, which generally sets Sharia principles as the source of legislation.

Elsewhere, in Demo village, 10 kilometers from Fayoum's city center, 58-year-old Abdel Tawab Sayyed Abdel Tawab, an illiterate farmer, claimed that his village of "a million" residents has a majority of Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood members, and that all of its residents will vote "yes."

According Abdel Tawab, the village's votes used to go to candidates of the now dissolved National Democratic Party during President Hosni Mubarak's time. Now they vote for Islamists, he said, adding that he does not mind applying Sharia as long as it combats corruption and theft.

3:30 pm: In the Meet Khahan village of Monufiya Governorate's Shibin al-Kom district, turnout was moderate with no reports of violations or logistical complaints reported by citizens thus far.

The village has become a stronghold for the Muslim Brotherhood, even though the Delta governorate is the birthplace of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and a number of former National Democratic Party officials. In the presidential race, candidate Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last appointed prime minister, won a majority of the governorate's votes with his highest margin nationwide. He also beat out President Mohamed Morsy in the runoff here.

Sabry Youssef, 48, voted against the constitution because it grants legislative powers to the Shura Council until a lower house of Parliament is elected.

"I fear that the government and presidency would then pass laws to serve the Muslim Brotherhood's interests," he said, asserting that Monufiya voters "cannot be easily deceived by any electoral tricks or religious speeches."

On the other hand, 23-year-old Mohmed El-Guindy, who was helping voters find their substation and number on voter lists, cast his ballot in favor of the draft.

"This is my laptop but the Muslim Brotherhood gave me the voters' database ... as I help them on the 'yes' campaign," he said. Though he's not a Brotherhood member, he supports the group and said he would like to see the implementation of Sharia.

3:00 pm: At the aptly named Farz (vote counting) Square in Suez, the judge overseeing one polling station attributed long queues to the large number of voters who should have been distributed over five polling stations. Only one station was available due to the lack of supervising judges because of their referendum boycott. Voters waited in an orderly queue and were admitted into the polling station in threes.

Awatef Hassan and her daughter Amira Ali voted "no." Hassan said she was sad that that country has split between "the Muslim Brotherhood and ordinary people." She said she was also saddened by clashes Friday between Islamist and opposition forces in Alexandria, where she is originally from, that left 80 injured.

Hassan read the constitution with her husband and children and watched commentators on TV before deciding how to vote. She mentioned the fact that her daughter, who studied chemical engineering and graduated at the top of her class, hasn't been able to find a job as influencing her decision.

At another polling station, 51-year-old steel worker Mamdouh Ali, said that while he had not read the whole constitution, he voted for it because it is "mostly good." Security was an important factor for him because he said he is worried about his school-aged daughters. On Morsy, he comments: "He can have his four years and if he doesn't do anything, there will be another revolution."

Alam Zekry, a 70-year-old who spent 45 years in Germany, said he voted "no" for stability, adding that Egypt needs a "solid base" to be able to deal with the outside world and sort out internal affairs.

In the Sadat School, where there are two female polling stations, women were almost fighting each other to get in, after having queued for hours. A supervising judge could not explain the hours-long wait. Three minutes away, another polling station was completely empty. Outside the school, the Nour Party and the Salafi Dawah were handing out flyers urging voters to say "yes."

2:30 pm: Voting has been extended until 11 pm, according to state TV. The announcement came earlier than usual as voting hours are typically extended later in the day to accommodate a high turnout. Though turnout so far is reportedly low, the extension in hours may be to encourage voters by giving them more time or to compensate for delays at polling stations.

In the Meet Okbah neighborhood of Giza, it took Sabah Ahmed just minutes to cast her "yes" ballot at an almost deserted polling station.

At the same polling station, Mona and her daughter Samar also voted "yes" because, she says, "The new constitution is pro-women's rights." The young mom and her daughter read the draft several times, citing several positive points, including what Mona sees as a viable pension system.

Voters at this polling station were predominantly leaning toward approving the constitution.

"I voted 'yes' because this is a draft for the best constitution the country has ever seen," says Iman al-Shafei, a university student, also citing articles regarding women's rights, pensions and media freedom.

Shafie attributed the low turnout at the women's polling station to housewives being "at home cooking now," predicting more will head out to vote later in the afternoon.

Rights groups have criticized the draft as being weak on women's, children's and minority rights.

In Bulaq al-Dakrour, close to the Haram district of Giza, turnout appeared relatively high compared to other areas, and signs promoting the constitution were abundant along the main streets, accompanied by large posters of President Mohamed Morsy.

"We didn't even know anything about the constitution in the old regime. Now the constitution is online and we all read it. We just want stability," says Refaat Hussein, a teacher.

Some blamed the opposition for boycotting talks and debates where they could have voiced their concerns.

"The constitution is good and the elite who refused some articles should have participated in the talks that the president invited them to, but their escape is a sign of the weakness," says Mohsen Sayed, a human resources manager in a private firm who voted in favor of the draft constitution.

Others who voted "no" cited their rejection of the ruling regime and the country's deteriorating conditions.

"What will I vote 'yes' for? The tough conditions we're living in? My son works in a private company and hasn't been paid in months. Should I vote yes to that?" said Mervat, a resident of the area.

"We have become prisoners of war," says Mahmoud Deyab, an accountant, explaining his "no" vote and expressing concerns that Islamist forces have taken over the country.

"I reject the deteriorating conditions and the constitution that was rushed and the president who hasn't fulfilled any of his promises," says Khairat Mohamed.

Boulaq el-dakrour referendum

2:00 pm: Egypt Independent's reporter found crowds confused over missing voters' lists outside polls in the Delta governorate of Beheira.

Some political groups, particularly Islamist ones, set up laptops near polling stations to help voters look up their number on voting lists.

According to Al-Shehab Center for Human Rights, the owner of a home next to a polling station in Kafr al-Dawar was giving voters their numbers on a paper that read "No to the constitution." The resident had also hung three banners against the charter on his property. Referendum-day campaigning is banned within 200 meters of polling stations.

Haytham Saad, 26, professor and Muslim Brotherhood member said he is voting "yes" because the constitution incorporates his ambitions for the coming years and he approves of a lot of its articles, especially the ones stripping former regime leaders of political rights and the one that creates the position of anti-corruption ombudsman.

"The "no" vote doesn't necessarily represent a loss of Sharia law and a "yes" vote doesn't necessarily mean it will be preserved," he says, adding that he expects the draft to pass by 75 percent in Beheira.

Meanwhile, Ali Ragab, a technician who is part of the Popular Current, is planning to vote "no" because the constitution draft is "bad and crystallizes the concentration of powers in the hand of the president, such as giving him the authority to appoint the heads of auditing and monitoring organizations." He adds that the current draft makes it very hard to issue amendments to the constitution. He thinks that the "no" vote will win no more than 35 percent in Beheira.

1:30 pm: Polling stations in New Valley Governorate saw limited turnout during the first half of the day. Al-Masry Al-Youm reported delays in the opening of a number of polling stations due to the staff being late.

The military flew some 120 judges supervising New Valley Governorate polls from both Cairo and Assiut.

The Freedom and Justice Party organized buses to transport voters to polling stations for free, but due to low turnout, those buses waited for long periods of time in residential areas until they were full.

The governorate has 143,584 eligible voters, the lowest number of registered voters in the 17 governorates participating in the second phase of the referendum.

1:00 pm: Voters queued at a polling station in the working class district of Imbaba, in Giza. As they waited in the line, they found Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin checking the polling station and the voting process.

In other parts of Giza, some violations have already been reported. A state employee accused a judge in a Bulaq polling station of directing voters to approve the constitution.

Verbal wrangling erupted between voters and judges supervising the balloting process at a polling station in Mohandiseen, as judges refused to show their identity cards to voters. Dozens of voters accused them of being executive employees and members of the Freedom and Justice Party. Police in charge of securing the polling stations failed to settle the disputes, prompting the Armed Forces to intervene.

Similar arguments erupted in other polling stations around the governorate. One polling station was temporarily closed until the Armed Forces could break up the fighting.

"All supervising judges have posted a photocopy of their ID cards on polling stations to confirm their identities," Giza Governor Ali Abdel Rahman said in response to the allegations.

Meanwhile, in the 6 October district, former People's Assembly Speaker and head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Saad al-Katatny cast his ballot amid antagonistic chants: “down with the rule of the [supreme] guide [of the Brotherhood], down with the rule of the Brotherhood.”

Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, a leader of the umbrella opposition coalition National Salvation Front, also cast his ballot in Mohandiseeen.

12:30 pm: In Qalyubiya Governorate, Egypt Independent's reporter witnessed low turnout.

In a polling station in Banha, the capital city, Yehia Mohamed, a 32-year-old doctor, said he voted “no” because “the first chapter [of the draft] is catastrophic, as it gives normal citizens executive powers to preserve morality. It’s unacceptable. It also grants the president wide powers, as well as giving the Shura Council extra legislative powers.” In the new constitution’s transitional rules, it is stated that the Shura Council will have full legislative powers until a new lower house of Parliament is elected.

IT engineer Sameh Omar,33, also voted “no” in protest of the entire drafting process. “[President Mohamed] Morsy promised not to pass the draft unless reconciliation is achieved. Where is his promise?” he asked.

المرحلة الثانية من الاستفتاء على الدستور: الفيوم

12:00 pm: The first few hours of voting in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya, which is home to 2.7 million voters, also saw low turnout in most polling stations. Judges arrived late to some polling stations, including those in Matay, Dirmwas, and Mallawy.

Media figure and activist Gameela Ismail, a founding member of the Constitution Party, said she is monitoring violations or abuses during the referendum in Minya through a media operations room with TV presenter Hala Fahmy, political activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, and labor activist Kamal Abbas. Ismail said that Upper Egypt needs to be placed under a microscope to catch violations during the vote, noting that the Constitution Party’s central committee, which tracks referendum violations, would be advised of all incidents.  

Violations have already been reported in Minya. Observers in the village of Beni Omran, in the district of Dirmwas, South Minya, said that voters were told by men and women from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to vote “yes,” Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. At the school complex in Kafr Mansoura, April 6 Youth Movement activists monitored members of the FJP trying to influence voters in the vicinity of polling stations.

Meanwhile, members of the Salve Your Conscience campaign in Minya wore black clothing in symbolic mourning, warning that the approval of the constitution would lead to further division of the country.

“We wanted to be happy with the first constitution after our glorious revolution, but this constitution does not represent real Egypt. … It was not written according to the hopes of all Egyptians. It was written by one group that does not recognize the other,” the campaign said in a statement Saturday.

Salve Your Conscience stressed the importance of citizen participation in the constitutional referendum and also called on voters to avoid clashes with those who have different opinions.

“All Egyptian citizens have to remember why they went to vote on the constitution, and remember the blood of the martyrs who demanded the cancellation of the referendum, remember the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace battle, remember and do not forget the blood of those martyrs who have given you freedom since 25 January and up to Ettehadiya,” the statement read.

11:30 am: Delays have been reported in polling stations around the country due to judges arriving late, including in five districts in the Red Sea Governorate in the touristic areas of Hurghada, Safaga and Marsa Alam and 22 polling stations in Beheira Governorate. In the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena, the delay in opening some polling stations in the countryside has led to voters block a main road and threaten to storm the polling stations if no alternatives are offered.

Military aircraft flew 22 judges to Naga Hammadi in Qena Governorate to supervise voting at the same number of polling stations when judges scheduled to monitor those polls did not show up, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. High Judicial Elections Commission official Mohamed Abu Shousha blamed the delay on a Qena court's failure to confirm the number of local judges boycotting the referendum. Judges could not reach another 13 polling stations in the same governorate because the roads were blocked, according to officials.

11:00 am: The voting process in Qena, which is home to 1,629,713 voters began with a series of violations and chaos. Ho village residents blocked a main road to protest a three-hour delay in the opening of their polling station. Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the judges had not arrived yet. Voters threatened to storm the polling stations and destroy the ballot boxes if they are not allowed to cast ballots somewhere else. In other polling stations in the governorate, voters protested the removal of their names from lists and their transfer to other stations. In the Hagoura village, voters found that their sub-stations were merged with the main station, which is now to host 5,000 voters.

 المرحلة الثانية من الاستفتاء على الدستور بإمبابة : الجيزة

10:30: Early lines marked morning voting in the Delta governorates.

In Monufiya, many of the 57 polling stations were delayed in opening. Voter turnout so far has been average in the governorate, which is home to 2,236,898 voters. Monufiya Governor Mohamed Ali Beshr said, “Participation in the referendum on the constitution is a national and religious duty so that Egypt transitions to stability.”

In Beheira Governorate, queues outside polling stations were already long in the early hours of the day. Beheira is a stronghold of voters with 3,341,241 eligible to cast ballots.

10:00 am: Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie cast his ballot in his hometown of Beni Suef, in Upper Egypt.

“The media has been unfair to us and to the judiciary, and that’s why they have to be professional and care more about Egypt,” he said after voting, referring to allegations that the first round of voting was marred by violations, a lack of judges to supervise the polls and executive branch employees allegedly claiming that they were judges.

“These alleged violations are not comparable to the violations that used to take place during the old regime’s rule," Badie said. "We are in a democratic event that the whole world is witnessing. Anyone witnessing violations should report them. We do not commit violations and we are not afraid of anyone.”

Badie added that during regime of toppled President Hosni Mubarak, he never had the chance to cast his ballot because regime supporters would drive him away from his polling station, alleging that his name was not registered.

Meanwhile, in the same governorate, some polling stations were moved to different locations in the Qalha village for security reasons, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. The village chief Amr Salouma reportedly demanded the change in location due to concerns that voting centers were in residential areas, which would encourage campaigning by different political movements, potentially leading to clashes. The new location is more manageable for maintaining security, he said. 

9:30 am: In Giza, several districts saw a flood of voters accumulating in queues around the polling stations. Long lines were reported in the affluent and middle-class districts of Dokki, Agouza and Sheikh Zayed. In the working class districts of Imbaba, some arguments erupted between voters at a polling station located in the Gawad Hosni School because of overcrowding, while some stations opened late because judges were not ready. Similar delays occurred in the Haram area. Meanwhile, scuffles also erupted in the Ayyat district between Islamists who were promoting the “yes” vote outside a polling station and citizens who did not approve of their campaigning. 

Giza has the most voters of any governorate in the second phase, with 4,383,701. 

Meanwhile, media gathered in the Shaimaa School in Dokki, where Prime Minister Hesham Qandil cast his ballot. Qandil spoke to fellow voters and asked them about their take on the voting, while he encouraged all of them to participate actively in the process. The same school is expecting a field visit by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sidqy Sobhy. Dokki is also the district where Amr Darag, secretary general of the Constituent Assembly which drafted the constitution, will vote, as well as Essam Sultan, member of the assembly, and Salafi preacher and disqualified presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail.

9:00 am: Qandil toured some of the polling stations in Giza to ensure the process started smoothly, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. Meanwhile, the voting has started in all governorates, with queues of voters already accumulating around some polling stations. Armed Forces personnel are deployed outside most stations.