Egyptians Vote on Constitutional Amendments

Published on Saturday 19th March 2011

Egyptians are voting in a referendum on constitutional amendments aimed at allowing free and fair elections.Turnout is expected to be high Saturday, in the first test of Egypt's move toward democracy after the overthrow of longtime-leader Hosni Mubarak by a popular uprising.The amendments would open elections to all opposition candidates and limit presidents to two four-year terms.  It would allow parliamentary and presidential elections to be held by the end of the year.Most secular groups and leading reform activists, including Arab League chief Amr Moussa and Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, oppose the passage of the amendments.  Both men intend to run for president.Opponents of the amendments say quick elections will give an unfair advantage to the only two established political parties in Egypt - Mr. Mubarak's National Democratic Party and the Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood.  Opponents are urging Egyptians to vote "no" at the polls.  Proponents of the change say rejecting the amendments will only prolong the rule of the military council that took control of Egypt after Mr. Mubarak stepped down in February.

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