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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Egypt MPs vote to allow President Sisi to run for office until 2030

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 14 Apr 2019
Parliament
A file photo of Egypt’s parliament taken February 16, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's constitutional and legislative affairs committee approved on Sunday a constitutional amendment that would allow President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to potentially remain in office until 2030.

The committee agreed to amend Article 140 concerning presidential terms.

The amendment stipulates that the president can be elected for six (instead of four) years, and cannot remain in office for more than two consecutive terms.

The committee also approved a new transitional article (no. 241) which stipulates that the current presidential term will end in 2024 (instead of 2022), and that the sitting president will be allowed to run for an additional six-year term.

Forty-three MPs voted in favour of the proposed amendments while seven MPs voted against.

Egypt’s parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal announced on Sunday that the House will take a final vote on proposed amendments to Egypt's 2014 constitution on Tuesday.

Addressing MPs in a plenary meeting on Sunday morning, Abdel-Aal said that parliament will take the final vote on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

"We will hold three plenary meetings on Tuesday to review the final draft of the amendments, discuss them and then take the final vote," said Abdel-Aal, indicating that "each MP will be required to use the microphone to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ upon hearing his/her name."

According to Abdel-Aal, the final vote will be taken on Tuesday instead of Wednesday in order to give MPs the time to explain the amendments to citizens in their own districts before the public referendum on them is held.

"The plenary meeting on Tuesday will be held as early as 10am in order to take as much time as possible in listening to the comments of MPs, including majority and opposition deputies, on the amendments," said Abdel-Aal.

It is still unclear whether each of the amended articles will be put up for a vote individually or as a package at one time.

Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, chairperson of parliament's constitutional and legislative affairs committee, told Al-Ahram on Sunday that "MPs will be required to vote on the amendments (12 articles) as one package."

"The amendments should gain the approval of two thirds of MPs – no less than 400 MPs – of the total (596)," said Abu Shoqa.

Abdel-Aal said "if MPs say yes on Tuesday's evening meeting, the amendments will be referred to the president of the republic in line with Article 226 of the constitution and 143 of parliament's internal bylaws so that he can invite citizens to take a vote on them within 30 days."

Some expect that the National Committee for Elections will meet on Wednesday to declare the date of the vote. Some sources say the vote will be held for three days, beginning on 22 April. Egyptian expatriates are expected to begin voting on the amendments on Thursday.

The amendments, submitted by the parliamentary majority Support Egypt coalition on 3 February, cover 12 articles in the constitution.

In addition to increasing the presidential term from four to six years, the amendments include a provision to allocate 25 percent of parliamentary seats to female candidates, reinstate the post of vice president and establish a second chamber.

A two-month national debate over the amendments show there are a lot of disagreements, particularly on the two amendments aimed at increasing the presidential term and allocating a quota of 25 percent of seats in parliament to women.

Parliament's constitutional and legislative affairs committee will take a final vote on the final draft of the amendments in an evening meeting today.

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