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Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi was among the early voters to cast ballots on Saturday (December 15) on a divisive constitution referendum, after polls opened at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT).
Mursi was shown on television casting his ballot shielded by a screen and then dipping his finger in ink - a measure to prevent people voting twice.
Egyptians are set to vote on the constitution promoted by its Islamist backers as the way out of a prolonged political crisis and rejected by opponents as a recipe for further divisions in the Arab world's biggest nation.
Mursi provoked angry demonstrations when he issued a decree last month expanding his powers and then fast-tracked the draft constitution through an assembly dominated by his Muslim Brotherhood group and its allies.
The liberal, secular and Christian opposition says the constitution is too Islamist and tramples on minority rights. Mursi's supporters say the charter is needed if progress is to be made towards democracy nearly two years after the fall of military-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak.
Official results will not be announced until after a second round of voting next Saturday (December 22). But partial results and unofficial tallies are likely to emerge soon after the first round, giving an idea of the overall trend.