Egyptian Voters Show Strong Support for Constitutional Changes

Published on Sunday 20th March 2011

Partial results from Egypt's referendum on constitutional reforms show strong support for the changes, paving the way for presidential and parliamentary elections. Turnout was reported to be high on Saturday, with millions of Egyptians casting ballots in a vote whose outcome, for the first time in Egypt's recent history, was not a foregone conclusion. Witnesses say there were long lines at many polling stations. The referendum is considered the first test of the country's move toward democracy. It included nine changes to the constitution that were proposed by a panel appointed by the military which has been leading Egypt since last month's ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Among the changes is limiting presidents to two four-year terms. Approval of the changes would pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of the year with the military relinquishing power in 2012. Most secular groups and leading reform activists oppose passage of the amendments, arguing that quick elections give an unfair advantage to the only two established political groups in Egypt - Mubarak's National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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