Egypt voters overwhelmingly approve constitution: government official

CAIRO Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:22pm EST

1 of 8. Officials count ballots after polls closed in Cairo, January 15, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian voters in a referendum held this week have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, an Interior Ministry official said on Wednesday, a result that could pave the way for army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to announce his candidacy for president.

"Turnout so far may exceed 55 percent and the approval of the constitution is perhaps more than 95 percent," Major General Abdel Fattah Othman, director of public relations for the ministry, told private satellite channel Al-Hayat.

He was citing preliminary results of the two-day vote that ended at 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) on Wednesday.

The result comes as no surprise. There was little or no trace of a campaign against the new constitution, which was supported by Egyptians who supported the army overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July.

The Brotherhood called for a boycott of the vote.

(Reporting by Ali Abdelatti; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Tom Perry)

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