It’s been a long, bloody time coming but the people of Egypt officially have their “free” now.
CAIRO — Eager for their first taste of a free vote in decades, Egyptians formed long lines outside polling centers on Saturday to cast their ballots on a package of constitutional amendments sponsored by the ruling military.
The nationwide referendum is the first major test of the country’s transition to democracy after a popular uprising overthrew President Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian rule on Feb. 11.
Voters were being asked to cast ballots to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the entire package of nine changes.
Preliminary results will be announced Sunday.
A “yes” vote would allow parliamentary and presidential elections to be held later this year or early in the next. A “no” vote could force the military to extend the six-month deadline it has set for the handover of power to an elected civilian government.
“My vote today will make a difference. It’s as simple as that,” first-time voter Hossam Bishay, 48, said as he waited in line with about 300 others outside a polling center in Cairo’s upscale Zamalek district.
The center was guarded by six police officers and one from the army.
Reports say that some people think that this vote is a little premature and the country hasn’t formed a suitable governing body. But the fact that they can even express this concern is a sign that democracy is prevailing. Praise be to Allah…
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