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Egyptians decide on contentious reforms

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Egyptians decide on contentious reforms


Voters in Egypt have been slowly making their way to the polls in a referendum on controversial reforms to the constitution. The proposed changes include giving the police wider powers to combat terrorism and banning political parties that base themselves on religious ideas.

Opposition parties have called on voters to boycott the ballot. In Cairo, public opinion is divided. One man claims most Egyptians don’t understand the amendments put forward because of a lack of available information. Another voter believes it is a good idea to allow the people the chance to decide for themselves.

Egyptians have had little time to mull over the reforms, which were agreed by Parliament only last week. Turnout is expected to be low, as it’s tended to be in the past. But with authorities taking bus-loads of public-sector workers to the ballot boxes, President Hosni Mubarak is expected to get the ‘yes’ vote he claims will promote democracy. But opponents, including the influential Muslim Brotherhood, claim the reforms will lead to a police state and doubt the vote will be fair.

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