Referendum Vote Puts Egyptian Prospects for Democracy to the Test

More

Following waves of protests and the removal of former President Hosni Mubarak, Saturday marks what some are calling the first time Egyptians will vote in a free and fair election. Egypt's new military rulers have scheduled a referendum on 10 proposed amendments to the country's current constitution. If passed, the amendments would, among other changes, introduce presidential term limits and open the field to multiple political parties.

But many protest leaders and politicians, including presidential front-runner Mohammed ElBaradei, are skeptical about whether these amendments can redeem a constitution designed to perpetuate authoritarian governance.

They say the amendments fail to address the constitution's most egregious shortcoming: its reliance on a powerful executive branch that dominates the other branches of government.

If the public rejects the amendments, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which assumed power from Mr. Mubarak when he stepped down on Feb. 11, could issue a "constitutional declaration" that would allow the country to proceed toward elections without formally revising the constitution.

Critics also added that if Egyptians vote for the amendments, the transitional timetable will proceed without allowing time for independent candidates to organize new political parties. There is no alternative process set up should the public votes against the amendments in the referendum.

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Miriam Krule writes for and produces The Atlantic's International channel.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

Just In