A nationwide referendum to open the way for the country's first multicandidate &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/politics/2002/04/17/27691.html ' target=_blank>presidential elections passed overwhelmingly, officials announced Thursday, saying more voters participated than in any previous similar balloting.
The results mean President &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/diplomatic/2001/10/16/18144.html ' target=_blank>Hosni Mubarak, the country's 24-year leader, will face opposition when he runs for a fifth term in September. But critics say the law, which allows candidates to run only with approval from Mubarak's party, is a sham.
Official results showed 83 percent of voters approved the constitutional changes in balloting Wednesday that was marred by scattered violence.
Turnout was 54 percent of registered voters - a figure the Interior Ministry said was higher than in any previous presidential referendum, tells the Guardian Unlimited.
The Federation Council may gather for the meeting on October 4 to consider new laws on the accession of new territories to Russia after the referenda