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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Egypt's parliament preliminarily approves amendments extending presidential terms

Ahram Online , Thursday 14 Feb 2019
Egypt
Egypt's Parliament meets to deliberate over constitutional amendments that could allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in office till 2034, in Cairo Egypt, Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019 (Photo: AP)
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Egypt's parliament has overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments that would extend the length of presidential terms and allow President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to run for two more terms after his second term expires in 2022.

The amendments could potentially allow President El-Sisi to remain in power until 2034.

Some 485 members of the 596-seat assembly approved the changes, parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said after a general voting session on Thursday. This makes up more than the two-thirds majority required to pass any changes to the country's national charter.

The approval is a major step towards moving forward with the constitutional changes, which are now expected to be referred to parliament’s legislative and constitutional committee to prepare a report in no more than 60 days.

The amendments will then be put to a final vote by the chamber and later to a national referendum, which is expected to be held within a few months.

The amendments include extending the presidential term from four to six years in Article 140 of the constitution, and a transitional clause that applies only to El-Sisi and allows him to run for two more six-year terms after his current term ends in 2022. The charter allows any other president to run for two terms only.

The proposed changes give the president new authorities over appointing members of the judiciary and boost the army's role in "safeguarding the constitution and the ideals of democracy, and maintaining a civil state."

They also include setting up a second house of parliament, the Senate.

Those who back the amendments say the changes are important for the stability of a country hit by years of political turmoil since the 2011 revolution, and to allow the president more time to carry out economic development plans.Egypt's parliament has overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments which would allow President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to stay in power until 2034, 12 years after his current second term expires.

Some 485 members of the 596-seat assembly approved the changes in a Thursday session, more than the two-thirds quota required to pass any changes to the country's national charter.

The assembly already gave its preliminary consent to the amendments last week.

Following the parliament's endorsement, the changes will then need be put to a national referendum within a few months.

El-Sisi's supporter say the changes are important for the stability of a country hit by years of political turmoil since the 2011 revolution, and to allow the president more time to carry out economic development plans.

 

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