Egyptians vote ‘yes’ on constitutional referendum
Egyptians Voters Approve Constitutional Changes
NEIL MacFARQUHAR, The New York Times, March 20, 2011
Egyptian voters overwhelming approved a referendum on constitutional changes that will usher in rapid elections, with the results announced Sunday underscoring the strength of established political organizations and the weakness of the nascent liberal groups.
More than 14.1 million voters approved the constitutional amendments while 4 million voted against them. The turnout of 41 percent among the 45 million eligible voters broke all records for recent elections, according to the Egyptian government.
“This is the first real referendum in Egypt’s history,” said Mohamed Ahmed Attia, the chairman of the supreme judicial committee which supervised the elections, in announcing the results. “We had an unprecedented turnout because after Jan. 25 people started to feel that their vote would matter…
…The liberal wing of Egyptian politics was heavily against the measure, saying they did not have enough time to organize into effective political organizations. They said early elections will benefit the brotherhood and the old ruling party, mean their dominance of the next parliament will mean it will write a constitution much like the old one.
Voters were asked to either accept or reject the eight amendments as a whole — all of them designed to establish the foundations for upcoming elections. Most addressed some of the worst excesses of previous years — limiting the president to two four-year terms, for example, to avoid another president staying in office as long as Mr. Mubarak did.