Egyptian lawmakers seek to allow Sisi to extend rule

Egyptian lawmakers table constitutional changes that would allow President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to extend his rule beyond 2022.

Elad Benari,

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Reuters

Egyptian lawmakers on Sunday tabled proposed constitutional changes that would allow President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to extend his rule beyond 2022, legislators said, according to AFP.

The bill submitted to speaker Ali Abdel Aal calls for several amendments to the constitution, including on the duration of presidential mandates currently limited to two four-year terms.

The lawmakers who put forward the amendments hope to extend the length of mandates to two six-year terms, which they say would allow Sisi to run for the presidency two more times after his second term expires in 2022.

That could see the former military chief ruling over Egypt until 2034.

Sisi swept to another four years in office against in the country’s elections in March of 2018, pledging to tackle the raft of security and economic challenges facing the country.

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.

The parliament's website said on Sunday that speaker Abdel Aal had received a "request from a fifth of the elected representatives (120 deputies out of the total 596) to amend certain articles of the constitution".

That number fulfils the quorum required for such a request, noted AFP.

A statement published later on the parliament's website outlined seven amendments that it said would address "severe deficiencies in determining the presidency term".

Terms would become six years instead of four years, since the current term length "isn't quite reasonable given the reality and the country's and region's circumstances", it said.

The revisions were aimed at supporting the parliamentary representation of women, youths, Christians, people with special needs and Egyptians in the diaspora, it added.

They would include "the establishment of a second chamber of parliament... and the creation of the post of vice president to assist the president in his duties," said the statement.

The vast majority of the current parliament supports the Sisi government, with only around 10 lawmakers making up the opposition.

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 since 2014.

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.




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