Egyptians clear the way for elections, approve amendments

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
Judge Mahmoud Attiya

Egyptian voters overwhelmingly approved proposed constitutional amendments that pave the way for parliamentary elections in June, according to the head of the judicial committee overseeing the referendum.

“We are proud of the Egyptian people for deciding their own destiny,” Judge Mahmoud Attiya said Sunday. “We assure the world that the March 19 referendum was fair and transparent at all stages.”

Of the 18,366,764 ballots cast Saturday, there were 14,192,577 “yes” votes and 4,174,187 “no” votes, Atiya said…

The proposed amendments included limiting the president to two four-year terms, capping emergency laws to six months unless they are extended by public referendum, and placing elections under judicial oversight…

Presidential candidate and head of the Arab League Amre Moussa, who urged a “no” vote, lauded the referendum as “the first official step towards the democracy called for in the January 25 movements.”

“‘Yes’ or ‘no’ is not the issue — that Egyptians are participating and voting today is what’s important,” he said Saturday.

Attiya told CNN that the next step in the transition to a civilian government is for the military to move forward with parliamentary elections in June.

Hey – it’s a start.

One of the joys of a constitutional democracy is that there can be – hopefully, will be – opportunities for further discussion and referendums if needed. The essential point is that the Egyptian people have had a first chance at an election that wasn’t rigged by a despot.

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