In Egypt, a referendum has passed that will allow President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to extend his current term until 2024, and remain eligible for another term that could see him in office until 2030.
The National Election Authority said Tuesday that the referendum on constitutional amendments passed with a decisive – but unsurprising – 89 percent of the vote. More than 27 million voters participated, or about 44 percent of those eligible, the election agency reported.
Sisi welcomed the news with praise for voters, hailing the decision as historic and “a tribute to the Egyptian people” who demonstrated their national awareness of the challenges facing Egypt. He has been in power since 2014, following the removal of Mohamed Morsi, and was re-elected in March 2018 with 97 percent of the vote in a contest widely viewed as falling short of a free and fair election.
In addition to changing presidential term limits, the amendments concentrate Sisi’s presidential power, allowing him to appoint the judiciary, and restructure the legislature with a third of the new senators appointed by the president.
The changes also include an expanded role for the military, a cause of concern for critics who fear that Egypt’s already fragile democratic space is threatened by increased powers over civilians on the basis of security priorities.
The voting followed prior approval of the constitutional amendments in the Egyptian House of Representatives, which did so by a 531-22 vote.
Image: Abdel Fattah El-Sisi