Posted: Dec 22, 2012 7:17 PM
CAIRO - Polls are closing in Egypt where voters in 17 of the country's 27 provinces have been casting ballots in the final phase of a referendum on an Islamist-backed constitution.
The draft charter has polarized the nation. Supporters are say a 'yes' vote offers a chance to restore some normalcy to the country after two years of political upheaval. Opponents see their 'no' vote as a way to preserve the country's secular traditions and prevent President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist allies from cementing their grip on power.
Preliminary results are expected tonight or early tomorrow. About 56 percent of ballots counted from the first round were in favor of the new charter.
Meanwhile, it's also been a day of resignations in Egypt. Egypt's vice president and the governor of its central bank have both announced they are stepping down.
The proposed constitution would do away with the post, so Vice President Mahmoud Mekki's departure was expected. But the sudden timing wasn't. In his statement, Mekki hinted that his decision could be linked to Morsi's policies, saying with his background as a judge, politics doesn't suit him.
The central bank chief's departure comes as Egypt's pound has been losing value and a deal with the IMF for a much needed loan of $4.8 billion has been put off.
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