Egypt: Egypt’s parliament has voted in favor of a number of constitutional amendments that would extend the rule of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and would allow him to stay in power until 2030.
The 596-seat legislature, which is dominated by Sisi loyalists, also backed other sweeping changes to the constitution on Tuesday, including giving the military greater influence in political life as well as granting Sisi more control over the judiciary. “The president’s current term shall expire at the end of six years from the date of his election as president in 2018,” Arabic-language al-Ahram daily newspaper and public broadcaster Nile TV reported.
“He can be re-elected for another (six-year) term,” they added.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal said 531 deputies voted for the amendments and 22 others against.
He added that amendments to the constitution were the outcome of dialogue sessions that had been in place over the past two months.
Abdel Aal, however, highlighted that a new constitution should be drafted within the next decade – signaling that Sisi may have another chance to extend his term beyond 2030.
“We need a new constitution; there is no way we will carry on without a brand new constitution within the next 10 years,” the legislator said.
Mohamed Abu Hamed, a member of parliament who pushed for extension of Sisi’s rule, asserted that changes were needed to allow the general-turned-president to complete political and economic reforms.
“The constitution in 2014 was written under tough exceptional circumstances,” he commented.
He hailed Sisi as a president who “took important political, economic and security measures… (and) must continue with his reforms.”
Earlier, opposition figures had called the proposals an “Arab Spring in reverse” and an “attempt to derail the movement towards a modern civil democratic state”.
Egyptian authorities blocked more than 34,000 internet websites in an attempt to restrict the Void campaign, which had been launched to rally Egyptians against the amendments.
The campaign had collected more than 250,000 signatures and had established five new websites in an attempt to counter the ban.