EU approves 'largely orderly' Egypt vote on constitution

BRUSSELS- The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, on Sunday voiced approval of Egypt's referendum on a new constitution, but said she expected it to usher in civilian leadership.

She welcomed the vote taking place "in a largely orderly manner," while noting in her statement that turnout was officially recorded at under 40 percent.
Egyptian election officials said Saturday the new constitution, which does away with changes introduced under ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, was approved by 98 percent of ballots cast in the Tuesday-Wednesday vote.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists boycotted the referendum.
Ashton said the EU could not verify alleged irregularities but said "these do not appear to have fundamentally affected the outcome".
She added: "I do however strongly regret the violent clashes related to the referendum leading to deaths and injuries on all sides in protests."
While Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who led Morsi's overthrow, was seen as possibly aiming to launch a presidential bid, Ashton said the new constitution should be applied "in a way that gives full effect to civilian preeminence".

Monday, January 20th 2014
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