Egypt's Constitutional Changes Overwhelmingly Approved By Voters
Nearly eight in 10 voters approved of sweeping changes to Egypt's Constitution in the post-Mubarak era, the country's election chief announced a day after polls closed.
The Associated Press writes the changes open the way for parliamentary and presidential elections later this year. Egypt’s strongest political parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party supported the measures, including:
- limiting presidents to two four-year terms
- require the president and vice-presidents to be an Egyptian citizen with Egyptian citizens as parents. They also can't be married to foreigners.
- allows one to become a presidential candidate either through approval of members of parliament or enough registered voters
- allow for more political parties
- allow challenges to candidate eligiblity and election fraud to be made in court
requires parliament to appoint an assembly within six months of taking office that would be charged with writing a completely new constitution
- requires president to appoint one or more vice-presidents
- allows majority of parliament to delcare state of emergency for up to six months. Extending beyond that would require vote of people.
The turnout in Saturday’s referendum was 41 percent of the 45 million eligible voters, placing it on par with U.S. midterm elections but far below presidential elections. The turnout was nearly triple that of last year's elections in Egypt. About four million voters, or 23 percent, opposed the changes. Many opponents said the changes were made hastily and that an election held so soon would allow little time for campaigning.
A special panel assembled by the Egyptian military proposed the changes shortly after President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign on Feb. 11.