Monday, 21 March 2011

Egypt's referendum hailed as a success

An estimated 18.5 million, out of 45 million eligible voters, turned up for Saturday's [19th March] referendum. Organising commission chairman Mohammed Attiya said that 14 million Egyptians approved the constitutional amendments, and the remainder 4 million voted “no”.

Egyptian daily Al-Ahram said the referendum was a "win for democracy," a view that was seconded by the State owned Al-Gomhuria: "Everybody has won in this referendum, whether they voted yes or no."

Egypt's main opposition group, banned under former president Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), used its clout and organisational skills to crusade for a "yes" vote. The youth groups, largely responsible for ousting Mubarak, however, called for a “no” vote, saying that the deadlines set by the military were too tight and that the constitutional changes were simply too narrow.

The Coalition of the Revolution's Youth urged supporters to respect the result of the "historic democratic process" and posted the following statement on its Facebook page: "We are now on the doorstep of a new era, in which Egyptians will shape their state for decades to come... we must work to carry on fulfilling the ambitions of the revolution.”

US ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey said the referendum was "an important step towards realising the aspirations of the 25 January revolution".

Sources: AFP, BBC News, The Guardian

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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