CAIRO - The final, official numbers are in, and Egypt's disputed, Islamist-backed constitution has won approval with 63.8 percent of voters saying yes, but there was little hope Tuesday that results would stabilize the country after two years of turmoil. Islamist President Mohammed Morsi may now face a more immediate crisis with the economy falling deeper into distress.
In a clear sign of anxiety over the economy, some Egyptians were hoarding dollars for fear the currency is about to take a significant turn for the worse.
The battle over the constitution left Egypt deeply polarized - turnout was just under 33 percent - at a time when the government is increasingly cash-strapped. Supporters of the charter campaigned for it on the grounds that it would lead to stability, improve the grip of Morsi and his allies on state institutions, restore investor confidence, and bring back tourists.
But after a spate of resignations of senior aides and advisers during the constitutional crisis, Morsi appeared to have lost another member of his government late Tuesday night when his communications minister posted on his Twitter account that he was resigning.
The minister, Hany Mahmoud, said he "couldn't cope with the culture of government work, particularly in the current conditions of the country." The resignation could not be immediately verified because it came so late at night.
Morsi signed a decree Tuesday night that put the new constitution into effect after the election commission announced official results of the referendum held over the last two weekends.
Turnout of 32.9 percent of Egypt's nearly 52 million registered voters was lower than most other elections since the uprising nearly two years ago that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.
The U.S. State Department bluntly told Morsi it was time to make compromises, acknowledging deep concerns over the constitution.
"President Morsi, as the democratically elected leader of Egypt, has a special responsibility to move forward in a way that recognizes the urgent need to bridge divisions, build trust, and broaden support for the political process," said Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy spokesman. "We hope those Egyptians disappointed by the result will seek more and deeper engagement."
Morsi is expected to call for a new election of parliament's lawmaking lower house within two months.
The opposition said the passing of the document was not the end of the political dispute.
"This is not a constitution that will last for a long time," said Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the main opposition group, the National Salvation Front, vowing to fight for more freedoms, social and economic rights.