Referendum Vote Puts Egyptian Prospects for Democracy to the Test

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.

Presented by

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

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

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

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Global

Just In