Cairo: In an urge for fresh Parliamentary and presidential elections, around 77 per cent of Egyptians have voted in favour for constitutional amendments.

In its first test for democracy, majority of the Egyptians voted ‘yes’ to nine constitutional amendments suggested by a committee formed by the Supreme Armed Forces Council.

More than 18 million voters, or about 41 per cent of those eligible, cast ballots nationwide on Saturday.

The amendments limit the presidency to two four-year terms and lay out the requirement of a public referendum for imposing a state of emergency that lasts longer than six months. Egypt has been under a state of emergency for the last 30 years.

One of the provisions in the amendments requires the new parliament to appoint a constitutional assembly within six months of taking office. The constitutional assembly will then be responsible for drafting a new constitution, which would be put to another referendum before taking effect.

While Egypt's two main political forces, the former ruling National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood, had both asked people to vote a "yes", other opposition groups, including, Nobel Laureate Mohammad Elbaradei's camp have urged people for a "no" vote. The cultural 'elite' are also unsatisfied with the result seeing it as a sign the religious groups and hardliners are popular.

Many of the people who voted "yes" said they want the economy to get back on track as the country has been suffering since the revolution on 25 January. The Cairo Alexandria Stock Exchange has been shut since 28 January and is facing the possibility of being taken-off international indices if the shutdown is longer than three months.

Even officials at polling stations attempted to convince voters to vote ‘yes’.

(Agencies)