An Egyptian Salafi holds a copy of the new constitution as he attends a conference to hear a lecture entitled Know Your Constitution, ahead of a two-day vote on a draft amendment in El-Saf village.

Cairo - Egypt holds its third constitutional referendum in three years on Tuesday and Wednesday, in what will be the sixth time voters go to the polls since president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in February 2011.

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood was largely forced underground during Mubarak's rule and emerged victorious from popular votes after his ouster, before being driven from power by the military in mid-2013.

The group is boycotting the forthcoming referendum.


Held on March 19, 2011, a month after the departure of Mubarak, and in which 77.2 percent of voters in the Arab world's most populous nation endorsed a limited revision of the constitution.

The new constitution reduced the length of the presidential term and approved an army plan backed by the Brotherhood to move quickly to an elected civilian regime.

The 41 percent turnout was a break with the massive abstention rate at elections under the Mubarak regime.


Islamists were declared victors on January 10, 2012, after three rounds of legislative elections that were considered the most open since the monarchy was overthrown in 1952.

Islamists groups won nearly 70 percent of the seats in the People's Assembly, with 47 percent going to the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party.

The turnout was estimated at 54 percent.

The Assembly was dissolved on June 14, 2012 however, after the legislative elections were declared invalid.


Islamists also won elections to the legislative Shura Council organised from January 29 to February 22, 2012, with a turnout rate of only 10 percent.

The Brotherhood's party won 105 of the 180 seats.

The senatorial elections were ruled invalid on June 2, 2013, but the Shura was authorised to legislate pending the election of a new Assembly.


The Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Morsi was declared victor on June 24, 2012, winning 51.73 percent at a second round presidential election against Mubarak's last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

The election, deemed historic, placed an Islamist at the head of Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, for the first time, while Morsi was also the first civilian, freely-elected president.

Announcement of the results was delayed, and on the evening of the second round the army limited the future president's prerogatives, handing itself legislative power. On August 12, 2012, Morsi scrapped the document that gave sweeping powers to the military, before being ousted by the army on July 3, 2013 following mass protests demanding his resignation.


A new divisive constitution, backed by the Islamists, was approved against a background of tensions on December 15 and 22, 2012. Some 63.8 percent voted in favour, with a turnout rate of 32.9 percent. The opposition claimed the vote was tainted by irregularities.

Legislative elections were to follow on April 22, 2013, but were adjourned by the judicial authorities which annulled the March 6, 2013 electoral law.

The constitution was suspended on July 3, 2013 when Morsi was ousted by the military. -Sapa-AFP