Statement on Egyptian Referendum VoteBut, as always, no consequences.
Yesterday Egypt concluded a popular referendum on a package of amendments to its constitution. While the approval of these amendments is a question for the Egyptian people to decide, it is evident that the vast majority of Egyptians did not choose to participate. Many voices in Egypt have criticized the abbreviated process which led up to this referendum, and have criticized the amendments themselves as a missed opportunity to advance reform and a step backwards. We also took note of significant discrepancies between the estimates of voter turnout provided by the Government and by both Egyptian and foreign media and observers.
As the Middle East moves toward greater openness and pluralism, we hope that Egypt will take a leading role as it does on many other regional issues. Secretary Rice was recently in Egypt and discussed political reform with senior Egyptian officials. We will continue to raise these issues at the highest levels in an effort to help the Government of Egypt fulfill the aspirations of the Egyptian people for democracy and meet the standards of openness, transparency, and reform the Government has set for itself.