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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Official press welcomes Egypt vote

Papers in Egypt have welcomed the approval in a referendum of constitutional changes that open the way for multi-candidate presidential elections.

But one opposition paper says the move is a "farce" that will change nothing, a view echoed by a London-based daily, which accuses the authorities in Cairo of fraudulently drumming up support.

The referendum was the first drop of the rain of democracy that the country will enjoy. The rainfall will depend on public participation in all the elections and referenda. The issue is not whether to vote "Yes" or "No", but it is the issue of public participation, as this will reflect the citizens' feeling of responsibility towards their country, as well as the importance of their opinion on how the affairs of their country are going to be managed.

Editorial in Friday's al-Akhbar

The referendum was a day for self-affirmation and entrenching democracy... History will recall that President Mubarak is the first Egyptian president who initiated the discarding of all the laws which limited freedoms, in order to lay the foundations of democracy and reform, and call for national dialogue between the ruling party and all the political parties, due to his belief that the people have the awareness and the ability to choose.

Editorial in Thursday's al-Akhbar

The people's approval of the constitutional amendment gives the green light to more political reforms, including above all new laws on the election of the president of the republic and the legislative elections. These laws provide guarantees for holding free, fair and transparent elections which truly reflect the people's administration. All political parties should therefore participate in continuous dialogue on these laws... A lack of dialogue will impact negatively on the role of those excluded.

Editorial in Friday's al-Jumhuriyah

The people have had their say in support of the political, economic and social reform process, which is marked by the participation of all the political forces to determine national action in the coming period, through the democratically-elected institutions which enjoy total legitimacy.

Editorial in Thursday's al-Jumhuriyah

Yesterday just like today... What happened on that sad Wednesday [referendum day] was nothing but a repetition of all other previous parliamentary or presidential elections... The same photos in the papers and the same fabricated lies... What we saw is the same identical farce and scenario.

Commentary in Friday's opposition al-Wafd

The so-called referendum showed yet again that the regime wants everything to remain the same and continue as such for years on end. As for the people, they gained nothing. On the contrary, they lost hundreds of millions of pounds, which the regime squandered on a much-ado-about-nothing referendum, which was of no benefit to the nation.

Commentary in Thursday's opposition Al-Wafd

As expected, the authorities, the ruling party and peasants support constitutional amendments in Egypt... In reality, turnout was rather limited in Cairo and Alexandria, which made the deputies of the ruling National Party head for rural areas and take peasants in large numbers to cast their 'yes' vote in the referendum, in order to announce a high turnout, despite opposition calls for boycott. This is how the tampering goes on, and this is how military rule in the biggest Arab state continues.

Commentary in UK-based Al-Arab al-Alamiyah

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