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Zimbabwe: 2 million people voted in referendum

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March 17, 2013 09:45 AM EST | AP


HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's official election body says an estimated 2 million people cast their vote in a referendum on a new constitution that seeks to curb presidential powers and strengthen human rights.

Judge Rita Makarau, head of the electoral commission, said Sunday the low estimate came from early returns from the nation's 9,400 polling stations.

Zimbabwe has an estimated 6.6 million registered voters. All main political parties had called for a "Yes" vote amid fears of a low voter turnout. Zimbabweans were given just three weeks to read the 170-page draft of the constitution.

Makarau said Saturday's voting was carried out peacefully. Vote counting began late Saturday and full results from isolated areas are expected within five days.