Oh yeah, that: With all the chaos in Libya and Japan, there hasn’t been much attention paid to what’s happened in Egypt in the wake of President Hosni Mubarak’s ousting. So, here’s the skinny: Over the weekend, the country voted on a referendum containing substantial changes to the country’s Constitution. Both of the country’s two major political parties, the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood, supported the changes, which passed with 77% of the vote. Now, it has to pass a parliamentary vote, which could come as early as September. But what was actually in it, and how is it playing out in Egypt?
- Limits on the Presidency In addition to reducing the length of presidential terms from six years to four, the new Constitution, if adopted, will instate a two-term limit for future presidents (Mubarak led for thirty years). Also, it requires the President to select a deputy within thirty days of assuming office, and bars anybody under 40 from running for President.
- High Voter TurnoutBack in the Mubarak days, many Egyptians thought leaders rigged the elections, so there wasn’t much of an impetus to vote. This time, 41% — or 18 million people — came out to vote. Not staggeringly high, for sure, but nothing to sneeze at, either. If anything, this turnout bodes well for the prospects of a democratic Egypt.
- Mixed Reactions Some pro-democracy groups are upset that the reforms didn’t go far enough. Activists claim the changes will benefit the two major parties, and some want to tear up the constitution and start over. Perhaps. Even so, the referendum’s passage seems — tentatively — like a good step towards rebuilding the country. source
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