Zimbabwe: 2 million people voted in referendum

March 17, 2013 - 10:28 AM
Zimbabwe Referendum Vote

Zimbabweans wait in a queue to cast their vote during the country's referendum in the capital Harare, Saturday, March, 16, 2013 . Zimbabwe's longtime political rivals came together to vote 'Yes' in a referendum to accept a new constitution Saturday, but the rare consensus does not guarantee an end to political violence and intimidation ahead of crucial elections later this year, the prime minister's party said. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — 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.