Egyptians took another step toward political change Sunday, voting overwhelmingly in favor of electoral reforms. More than 77% voted to limit presidents to two four-year terms.
The reforms will also eliminate restrictions on the creation of new political parties, and would subject the continuation of the emergency law beyond six months to approval in a national referendum. Future elections will be subject to judicial review.
In addition, the public voted to hold national elections as early as June 2011.
Eighteen million people – 41% of voters – turned out to vote on the new reforms, compared to just six million who voted in the parliamentary elections held prior to the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Opponents of the reforms argued that the changes were being made too quickly, in a process that will leave fledgling political parties unprepared for national elections. If new parties are not giving a chance to gain a footing, the elections will go to established groups such as the National Democratic Party or the Muslim Brotherhood, they argued.
Among those who wanted to wait longer for elections was opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei, who came under attack by stone throwers as he made his way to a polling station.
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