Egypt: The referendum – a huge step forward for the continuing democratization of the arab Middle East

With an estimated 40-45% – 18 million of 40-45 million – eligible voters taking part in the referendum on amendments to the Egyptian constitution the election on this note alone is a success. But there are more – some irregularities have been reported, but all in all this seems like one of the first free and fair elections taking place in Arab world (Yes, I do note the elections in the Palestinian territories, elections in Iraq and Lebanon). And when irregularities have been reported it seems as if the authorities have taken this seriously.

When we are talking about Egypt one must also take note of the impact that this country has on the rest of the Arab world. If democracy take hold in Egypt this will have a major impact in the rest of the Arab world.

So what about the result? Projections indicate that 77% voted yes (14 million votes) and 23 % (4 million votes) no. The majority of no votes came from the major cities like Cairo and Alexandria.

The result, which approved amendments to the constitution concerning who and what party may participate in elections to parliament and who may be a candidate for president, are such that the military council soon will announce dates for the coming elections to a new parliament and for the position of president.

About Leif Eriksson

Leif Eriksson has worked in the field of asylum at the Swedish Migration Agency specializing in the Middle East, Schengen and the Dublin Regulation, as Migration Attaché and head of the migration section at the Swedish Embassy in Damascus 2005 - 2008, as a resettlement consultant at the UNHCR branch office in Damascus 2008 - 2009, Consul at the Swedish Consulate General in Jerusalem 2012 - 2013 and associate RSD/RST officer at UNHCR in Beirut 2013 - 2014. He currently lives in Tbilisi, Georgia.
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