Mon. Apr 22nd, 2019

Egypt’s parliament to vote on extending Sisi’s rule

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Egypt‘s parliament is set to vote on constitutional amendments including an extension to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi‘s current four-year term in office.

If approved by parliament on Tuesday, the amendments will be put to a public referendum, widely expected later this month, before they go into effect, Ali Abdelaal, the parliament speaker, said on Sunday.

Proposed constitutional amendments had previously suggested that Sisi would be allowed to seek two new six-year terms after his current one expires in 2022.

But according to a recent draft seen by Reuters news agency, the latest amendments could allow Sisi to stay in power until 2030 by extending his current term by two more years and allowing him to run again in 2024.

State television reported parliament’s legislative committee approved the amendments and they were ready to go to the full house for a vote, scheduled for Tuesday.

Abdelaal said the changes were the result of civic discussions organised by parliament to hear diverse views on the proposed amendments. Sisi’s supporters dominate the 596-member assembly.

More changes

The proposals also call for setting up a second parliamentary chamber, the Senate, composed of 180 members and giving the president new powers over appointing judges and the public prosecutor.

They also include amending Article 200 of the Constitution to add the military’s duty is to protect “the constitution and democracy and the fundamental makeup of the country and its civil nature”.

Some critics fear those changes will give the military more influence on political life in Egypt.

Sisi’s supporters say the changes are necessary to give him more time to complete major development projects and economic reforms.

His critics say they concentrate more powers in the hands of a leader accused by rights groups of presiding over a relentless crackdown on freedoms.

The development comes eight years since Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising ended Hosni Mubarak‘s nearly 30-year rule.

Sisi led the 2013 military overthrow of elected president and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi and was elected Egypt’s leader the following year.

He has presided over an unprecedented crackdown on dissent and was re-elected last year after all potentially serious challengers were jailed or pressured to exit the presidential race.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/egypt-parliament-vote-extending-sisi-rule-190415152406815.html

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