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Egypt vote

Cairo, Jan. 14 (Reuters): Egyptians voted today for the first time since the military deposed President Mohamed Mursi on a draft Constitution that may set the stage for a presidential bid by army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

At least five persons were killed in confrontations between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and police, official sources said. A small bomb went off in Cairo, injuring no one.

The Brotherhood, still backing Mursi who is now in jail, has called for a boycott and protests over the draft, which deletes Islamic language written into the basic law approved a year ago when he was still in office. It also strengthens state bodies that defied him: the army, the police and the judiciary.

While a state crackdown on dissent has erased many freedoms won by the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak, anticipation of more stable government sent the stock market today to its highest level since his downfall. The referendum is a milestone in the political transition plan the army-backed government has billed as a path back to democracy even as it presses a fierce crackdown on the Brotherhood.

 
 
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