Egypt: 2005 Constitutional referendum

Updated January 2012

Faced with growing international pressure to institute constitutional and electoral reforms, in 2005, President Mubarak called for a referendum to amend Article 76 of the 1971 Constitution. The amendment sought to replace the yes/no referendum system of electing the president (see Presidential referenda 1956 - 2005) with direct multi-candidate presidential elections. The amendment also stipulated requirements for presidential candidate nomination which included a mandatory support of 250 elected members of councils (the PA, SC and local councils). Political parties were also allowed under this amendment to nominate candidates provided that they had been operational for 5 years prior to the 2005 elections. Though the opposition called for a boycott of the referendum, it was passed with 80% 'yes' votes. While the constitutional and electoral reforms were welcome as a step in the right direction by some, it was viewed as a mere aesthetic attempt to please the west while retaining the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) in power.