Egyptians have voted to approve a controversial new constitution in a referendum, according to unofficial results by rival camps.

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood said about 64 per cent of the population voted for the charter. The main opposition National Salvation Front also said the vote was a ‘yes’ in favour of the new constitution.

The second phase of Egypt’s constitutional referendum ended on 22 December. Official results are not expected until 24 December.

If the constitution is adopted, President Mohamed Mursi will have to call parliamentary elections within two months, to replace the Islamist-dominated assembly dissolved in June.

The build-up to the vote was marked by violent protests, underlining the crisis gripping the Arab world’s most populous nation. Both sides brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets in rival demonstrations.