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Egyptians Overwhelmingly Approve Constitutional Changes
March 20, 2011

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The changes in the constitution suggested by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will go forward, after a resounding vote of confidence by the Egyptian people. In a referendum, more than 77 percent of voters approved of the constitutional changes. Of Egypt's 45 million voters, 41 percent cast ballots.

The voting was peaceful and orderly, a stark contrast to the throngs of people that had inundated Cairo's Tahrir Square and public places in other cities in recent weeks and months. As is the custom in the mostly Muslim nation, men and women stood in separate lines.

The constitutional changes will bring reforms demanded by the people who eventually succeeded in driving President Hosni Mubarak from power and his dreaded security police from their roles as Mubarak's henchmen. Among the reforms is a set of governmental elections, in just a few months, for President and Parliament.

The speed of those elections has some opposition leaders worried because they fear that they won't have enough time to organize political parties to run in opposition to the former ruling Democratic National Party and the longtime outlawed opposition Muslim Brotherhood, which recently announced that it would officially form a political party but would not run a candidate for President. Such political operations would naturally have an advantage over fledgling parties formed by leaders of the recent opposition, including international famous reform campaigner and Nobel laureate Mohamed El-Baradei.

Some opposition leaders worried about the threat of sectarian violence as well, in light of the growing unrest in Bahrain. Muslims far and away outnumber Christians in Egypt, and a few outbreaks of violence in the country have been fought along religious lines, with dozens killed and hundreds wounded. The Muslim Brotherhood is on record as wanting to make Egypt a Muslim state. (It is currently a secular one.)



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