Partial results from a third of Egypt's provinces on Sunday showed massive turnout and a vote overwhelmingly in favour of constitutional changes that eliminate restrictions on political rights and civil liberties.

The count from most of the country, including Cairo, was still to be released.

But results from 10 of 29 provinces showed 65 to 86 per cent of voters saying “yes” to the changes, which would allow national elections no later than September. Opponents feared the referendum's passage would allow the highly organised Muslim Brotherhood to dominate Egypt's dozens of new political parties in the presidential and parliamentary vote.

Millions of Egyptians voted freely on Saturday for the first time in more than half a century, joyfully waiting for hours to cast their ballots on the package of constitutional changes.

Among other changes, the constitutional amendments would open elections to independent candidates, allowing parliamentary and presidential elections to replace the caretaker military government by early 2012.

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