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Egypt finishes constitutional vote, but irregularities delay final results

Egypt's opposition alleges fraud tainted the country's constitutional referendum. Results are delayed while Egypt's judiciary investigates.

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Egyptian judges were investigating opposition accusations of voting irregularities today before declaring the result of a referendum set to show that a contentious new constitution has been approved.

President Mohamed Morsi sees the basic law, drawn up mostly by Islamists, as a vital step in Egypt's transition to democracy almost two years after the fall of military-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak.

The opposition, a loose alliance of liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians, says the document is too Islamist, ignores the rights of minorities and represents a recipe for more trouble in the Arab world's most populous nation.

Critics have also said the vote, conducted over two stages in a process that ended on Dec. 22, was marred by a litany of irregularities, and have demanded a full inquiry.

"The committee is currently compiling results from the first and second phase and votes from Egyptians abroad, and is investigating complaints," Judge Mahmoud Abu Shousha, a member of the committee, told Reuters.

He said no time had been set for an announcement of the final outcome, but it appeared unlikely to be today.

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