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Egypt president calls for amendment of criticized constitution

[JURIST] Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak [official website; BBC profile] called for the country's parliament to amend Article 76 of the Egyptian constitution [text] Sunday amid criticism from the opposition that the article effectively protects the ruling party from genuine competition in the 2011 presidential elections. Mubarak made the announcement in a speech [National Democratic Party press release] marking the opening of a new parliamentary session. The current version of Article 76, amended in 2005 [NDP backgrounder, PDF] after a May referendum [JURIST report], prevents political parties with less than five percent representation in the Egyptian parliament from submitting a presidential candidate (the previous version has simply stipulated that Egyptians could vote yes or no on a single presidential candidate). Critics allege that the article was designed to allow Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party [party website] to nominate Mubarak's youngest son, Gamal Mubarak, as the sole candidate next presidential elections.

Mubarak has won three elections since assuming power in 1981. Egypt has remained under emergency law [JURIST report] through Mubarak's president, giving the government a type of quasi-military control over the population. AP has more.

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