Strong 'yes' vote passes Egyptian constitution

The head of Egypt's election commission said today that the country's new constitution has passed with a 63.8 per cent "yes" vote in a referendum.

According to official results, 32.9 percent of voters participated.

The announcement turns the Islamist-drafted charter into the country's first constitution after the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak out of office after nearly 30 years of authoritarian rule.

Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian President, is an Islamist who was elected this year after the 2011 revolution. He has been accused by liberal, leftist and Christian opponents of ramming through a law mixing religion with politics.

The opposition had campaigned against the constitution, charging that it will usher in Islamic rule in Egypt and restrict freedoms. It has vowed to challenge the results. Judge Samir Abou el-Maati, the head of the electoral commission, denied allegations that judicial supervision was lacking in the vote.

"We have seriously investigated all the complaints," Mr Abu el-Matti of the Supreme Election Committee told a news conference."

The official results closely mirror unofficial results announced by the Muslim Brotherhood, the main group that backed the charter.