Egyptians went to the polls Wednesday to vote in a referendum on constitutional amendments allowing - for the first time - more than one candidate to run for president.
In a televised statement, President Mubarak urged Egyptians to vote at a "critical moment'' in the country's modern history. He said the amendment will open new venues of democracy and will "secure the safety and the independence of the nation.''
Many pro-government newspapers and media ads and banners focused not on the referendum question but on Mubarak himself - either saying "Yes to Mubarak'' or carrying huge pictures of him and recounting his achievements since he came to power in 1981.
But Mubarak's opponents, including banned Muslim Brotherhood group and four main political parties, have urged a boycott, saying the changes are little more than window dressing.
Despite the boycott call, the amendments will pass in the referendum. The question is how much support they will muster. The measure needs support from at least 51 percent of the voters to pass.
The proposed amendments are supposed to make it easier for presidential candidates to run and be elected in direct elections and give other candidates at least a chance to contend.
Mubarak, who has not yet declared he will run for a fifth term as president, is waiting to see how the voters receive the amendments.