Jan. 18 - Egyptians overwhelmingly back new constitution with more than 98 percent approval in a referendum. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: More than 98 percent of voters backed a new Egyptian constitution in a referendum this week, authorities said on Saturday, though the turnout was lower than some officials had indicated, with under 40 percent of the electorate taking part. The vote advances a transition plan that the military-backed government unveiled after deposing Islamist president Mohamed Mursi last July following mass unrest over his rule. The "yes" vote was 98.1 percent, and 38.6 percent of eligible voters took part, said Nabil Salib, head of the Supreme Election Committee. The turnout was well below the 55 percent that an Interior Ministry official had estimated after the two days of voting closed on Thursday. However, it exceeded the 32.9 percent turnout in a referendum that backed the previous Islamist-tinged constitution under the Muslim Brotherhood's Mursi in 2012.