Monday, March 21, 2011

Egyptians vote for change

A woman shows her inked finger after casting her vote in a constitution referendum at a school in Cairo, March 19, 2011.

Source: Press TV

Egyptians have overwhelmingly voted in favor of constitutional amendments in a historic referendum, clearing way for fair elections in the North African country.

The organizing commission chairman Mohammed Attiya announced on Sunday that there was a 41 percent voter turned out in Saturday's poll, which was the country's first referendum following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Officials say the referendum will pave the way for parliamentary and presidential elections within six months.

It will also take further steps to establish a new Egyptian political system. The vote will reduce Egypt's unlimited six-year presidential tenure to two four-year terms.

About 45 million Egyptians were eligible to take part in Saturday's referendum.

The developments come weeks after Mubarak handed over power to Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is headed by Defense Minister Gen. Mohammed Tantawi. Egypt has been ruled by men of military backgrounds since 1952.

The military council has promised a swift transition to civilian rule.

However, critics say they are skeptical about a rapid transition towards democracy and civilian rule and maintain that demonstrations will continue until all their demands are met.

They say all political prisoners must be released and an investigation launched into the conduct of officials responsible for the violence used against civilians.

The developments come as popular revolutions continue to sweep US-backed autocratic regimes across the Middle East and North Africa.

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