Wed, 22 May 2019

Egypt to have national poll to approve amendments to constitution

By Jay Jackson, Ireland News
17 Apr 2019, 09:17 GMT+10

CAIRO, Egypt - The man who deposed Egypt's first elected president in decades, will now likely hold the office for at least another 11 years.

Amendments to the constitution easily passed in the Egyptian parliament on Tuesday. The changes will allow the coup leader to have his current term extended from four to 6 years, and to allow him to run for another six year term in 2024, which would extend his presidency until 2030.

The changes also give President Abdel Fattah El Sisi wide-sweeping powers, allowing him personally to appoint a vice president, and for an upper house of parliament to be created with a third of its members to be appointed by the president.

The house also enshrined a powerful role for the Egyptian military which Mr El Sisi has advocated since assuming office in 2014.

Another amendment to the constitution that passed was that 25% of parliamentarians have to be women.

Although parliament has approved the changes, being the constituion, the people will get the final say. The amendments will be put to a national referendum later this month, or early next month.

While the military and political elite in the country have supported the measures, it is unknown how the 80-million-plus population of Egypt will respond.

Many internationally see the changes as a final restoration to the type of rule of previous President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for twenty nine years.

El Sisi, who was with the Egyptian military was made defence minister by the newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi on 12 August 2012. Eleven months later, on 3 July 2013 El-Sisi led a coup against his boss, ousting him and putting him in jail. Morsi's party, the Muslim Brotherhood which had been swept into power by the people, was then designated a terrorist group. El Sisi simultaneously dissolved the constitution that had been enacted in 2012.

Despite Tuesday's parliamentary approval to the changes to the El Sisi-created constitution, Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said the president had nothing to do with the amendments being made and had no lust for power.

He said the changes reflected the will of the people.

"These amendments are not in the interest of the country or the Egyptians," opposition member Haytham Al Hariri told the parliament before the voting began on Tuesday.

"We are bigger than tailor-making the constitution for the benefit of a specific person."

The opposition has little say in the parliament which has been stacked with supporters of the president.

 

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