Egypt votes to allow Sisi to extend rule

Egypt's parliament overwhelmingly approves constitutional amendments allowing President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to stay in power until 2030.

Elad Benari,

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Reuters

Egypt's parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments allowing President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to stay in power until 2030, AFP reported, citing Egyptian state media.

Deputies also backed other sweeping changes to the constitution including to give the military greater influence in political life as well as granting Sisi more control over the judiciary.

The amendments are to be put to a public referendum, the date of which is to be announced on Wednesday.

"The president's current term shall expire at the end of six years from the date of his election as president in 2018," reported the official Al-Ahram news website and broadcaster Nile TV.

"He can be re-elected for another (six-year) term."

Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal said 531 deputies voted for the amendments and 22 against, according to Al-Ahram.

Sisi, who led the army's overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against the Islamist leader's rule, was then elected as president in 2014.

He swept to another four years in office against in the country’s elections in March of 2018.

He has in the past indicated, however, that he would not seek a third term in office, noting the country's constitution permits its leaders to serve only two four-year terms.

His government has been widely criticized by human rights groups for the repression of political opponents.

But Mohamed Abu Hamed, a member of parliament who pushed for the constitutional amendments to keep Sisi in power, was adamant the changes were needed to allow him to complete political and economic reforms.

"The constitution in 2014 was written under tough exceptional circumstances," he told AFP.

The deputy hailed Sisi as a president who "took important political, economic and security measures... (and) must continue with his reforms," in the face of the unrest gripping neighboring countries.

Since becoming president in 2014, Sisi has been dealing with the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, where the local Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate has carried out countless terrorist attacks.

Egyptian forces have since February of 2018 been waging a sweeping operation against the local affiliate of the Islamic State group in the restive North Sinai province.




top