17 Dec 2012

First round votes being counted in Egypt

9:11 am on 17 December 2012

Votes are being counted in Egypt in the first round of a referendum on a new constitution.

President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood have endorsed the draft document, but critics say it is poorly drafted.

Official results are not expected until after a second round is held.

Saturday's vote was held in Cairo, Alexandria and eight other provinces, a week before the rest of the country. Voting was extended to 11pm due to the turnout.

The ballot paper asks voters to either endorse or oppose the new constitution.

The second round of the referendum is to be held next Saturday, after which the official result is to be announced.

Human rights groups fear that results from the first round could sway the opinion of those voting in the second.