Egyptian parliament advances proposal to extend Sisi's rule

Egypt's parliament advances proposal to amend constitution in a way that could allow President Sisi to stay in office beyond 2022.

Ben Ariel ,

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi

Egypt's parliament on Tuesday advanced a proposal to amend the constitution in a way that could allow President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to stay in office well beyond the end of his current term in 2022, The Associated Press reported.

Egyptian lawmakers tabled the proposed constitutional changes on Sunday. The bill 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. That change could see the former military chief ruling over Egypt until 2034.

Sisi led the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, following calls on him to go.

He 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.

Sisi 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.

A constitutional amendment to extend Sisi’s rule would add to concerns that the country is slipping back into authoritarianism eight years after a pro-democracy uprising ended Hosni Mubarak's nearly three-decade rule.

Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al said two-thirds of the general committee endorsed the proposed amendments. The 596-seat assembly - which is packed with Sisi supporters - will take a final vote on February 17. A national referendum would need to be held to amend the constitution, according to AP.

Sisi has led the crackdown against 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 ISIS affiliate in North Sinai province.