Egypt's controversial Islamist-backed constitution has been approved, according to preliminary referendum results released by the country's Muslim Brotherhood.
The results, posted on the Brotherhood's website, showed the disputed constitution had a Yes majority of more than 70% in Saturday's second and final round of voting.
The referendum was held over two days, on December 15 and Saturday. In the first round, about 56% said Yes to the charter. The turnout then was about 32%. Saturday's turnout was about 30%.
The Brotherhood, of which Islamist President Mohammed Morsi hails, has accurately predicted election results in the past by tallying results provided by its representatives at polling centres. Official results will not be announced for several days.
The Yes vote was a victory for Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, but a costly one. The bruising battle over the past month stripped away hope that the long-awaited constitution would bring a national consensus on the path Egypt will take after shedding its autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago. Instead, Mr Morsi disillusioned many non-Islamists who had once backed him and has become more reliant on his core support in the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists.
Hardliners in his camp are determined to implement provisions for stricter rule by Islamic law in the charter, which is likely to futher fuel divisions.
His liberal and secular opposition, in turn, faces the task of trying to organise the significant portion of the population angered by what they see as attempts by Mr Morsi and the Brotherhood to gain a lock on political power.
The main opposition group, the National Salvation Front, said it would now start rallying for elections for the next law-making, lower house of parliament, expected early next year. "We feel more empowered because of the referendum. We proved that at least we are half of society (that) doesn't approve of all this. We will build on it," the party's spokesman, Khaled Daoud, said. But, he said, there was "no appetite" at the moment for further street protests.
Saturday's voting in 17 of Egypt's 27 provinces was the second and final round of the referendum. The new constitution will come into effect once official results are announced, expected in several days.
Meanwhile, in a sign of disarray in Mr Morsi's administration, his deputy and - possibly - the Central Bank governor resigned during the latest voting. Vice President Mahmoud Mekki's resignation had been expected since his post is eliminated under the new constitution. But its hasty submission even before the charter has been sealed and his own resignation statement suggested it was linked to Mr Morsi's policies.