Egypt: Amendments pass despite low voter turnout

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March 27, 2007 12:24

 
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Voters overwhelmingly approved a set of controversial amendments to Egypt's constitution, the government said Tuesday, a day after opposition groups massively boycotted a referendum. Turnout in Monday's referendum was low - 27 percent - but the "yes" vote was 75.9 percent, Justice Minister Mamdouh Marei told a news conference broadcast live on state television. Egyptians are likely to regard the figures with considerable skepticism as many polling stations were virtually deserted for hours in the capital, Cairo. The country's leading rights group, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, estimated that only 2-3 percent of the electorate had voted five hours before polls closed. "The Egyptian people confirmed their participation in deciding the future of the nation and the people's role in building the edifices of democracy," Marei said.

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