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Egyptian Lawmakers Approve Election Reforms

Egypt's parliament members shout as they discuss a controversial constitutional amendment
Egypt's parliament has adopted a constitutional amendment allowing multiple-candidate presidential elections for the first time.

The 454-seat lower house, dominated by President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party, approved the amendment Tuesday after several hours of debate. It will be in effect for the scheduled September polls.

The amendment has sparked rare street protests by opposition groups over what they see as nearly impossible rules set for independent candidates. It requires presidential hopefuls to collect the signatures of at least 300 members of parliament and city councils, all of which are dominated by the ruling party.

Mr. Mubarak has not yet said whether he will seek a fifth, six-year term.

The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the opposition group behind recent public protests, called on parliament to reject the amendment.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.