Egyptians began voting on a draft for their country’s constitution Tuesday morning, a vote that is expected to give the judiciary expanded authority at a time when judges have been at the center of a crackdown on Islamists.
The referendum’s opening was marred by an explosion outside a courthouse in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba, a dense low-income neighborhood that was once a hotbed of Islamist politics during the 1990s. The attack, which tore the facade off the courthouse, didn’t result in any casualties, according to Egypt’s ministry of interior.
Egypt’s Judges Stand to Gain
Egyptian officials have planned for a major rollout of 250,000 police and military personnel to protect the referendum, according to Egypt’s official state news media. Egypt has seen frequent paroxysms of deadly street-level riots and terrorist attacks on military and police installations since a popular military coup ousted former President Mohammed Morsi on July 3.
The government has billed a “yes” vote in the constitutional referendum, which is scheduled to end on Wednesday after two days of voting, as a stamp of approval for the military-backed government that assumed power after Mr. Morsi was deposed and detained.