‘‘The patience of the officers is not guaranteed to remain the same forever,’’ said Sweilam, who is widely thought to be close to the military.
The vote for half a million eligible expatriates overseas could give hints at which direction the referendum is going. Egyptian expatriates in the Gulf are known to lean toward Islamists while others in Europe, North America and Australia, among them a large number of Christian migrants, lean more toward liberals.
In the Egyptian embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, a handful of voters showed up after the vote started at 8:00 a.m. local time. Mohammed Abdullah, a physician, said he voted yes because he wants stability, and any changes could be made later.
‘‘We can make whatever amendments we want but we have to get through this and return to normalcy,’’ he said.