Egyptians on Saturday began voting in a three-day referendum that aims to extend the rule of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, till 2024.
Voters were being asked to back amendments to the constitution to allow Sisi, a former coup leader, to run for another six-year term while boosting his control over the judiciary and giving the military even greater influence in political life.
AFP reports that Sisi was among the first to vote when polls opened, casting his ballot in the upmarket Cairo suburb of Heliopolis.
The referendum is a departure from the wave of mass pro-democracy protests in North Africa this month that swept away long-serving presidents in Algeria and Sudan.
According to AFP, in Shubra, a working-class neighbourhood of the capital, dozens of voters, mostly women carrying their children, queued outside a polling station in the local high school.
In Cairo, troops and police were deployed in numbers although the interior ministry declined to give any nationwide figures.
Egypt is still battling a hardened Islamic insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula that has seen attacks in Cairo and other cities.
Sisi, 64, has argued that he needs longer to complete the job of restoring security and stability after the turmoil that followed the overthrow of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring of 2011.
He won his first term as president in 2014, a year after he led the army in overthrowing elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his single turbulent year in power.
He was re-elected almost unopposed in March 2018 following the disqualification or withdrawal of major contenders.