Egypt MPs approve changes in statute - GulfToday

Egypt MPs approve changes in statute

Egypt-street

Pedestrians walk in front of a banner of Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in Cairo on Tuesday. Reuters

Members of Egypt’s parliament on Tuesday approved changes to the constitution that will allow President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to stay in power until 2030, state media reported.

The changes to extend presidential terms are part of amendments initially introduced in February by a parliamentary bloc supportive of Sisi and updated this week after several rounds of debates.

“The president’s current term shall expire at the end of six years from the date of his election as president in 2018,” reported the official Al Ahram news website and broadcaster Nile TV.

“He can be re-elected for another (six-year) term.”

MPs approved other sweeping changes to the constitution including allowing the military a greater influence in Egyptian political life as well as granting Sisi greater control over the judiciary.

“The final votes on all the amendments package have yet to be tallied,” MP Mohamed Abu Hamed told reporters.

The amendments are expected to be put to a public referendum later this month.

A former military chief, Sisi became president in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018 with more than 97 per cent of the vote.

The proposed amendments were initially introduced in February by a parliamentary bloc supportive of Sisi and updated this week after several rounds of debates.

MP Mohamed Abu- amed, who pushed for the constitutional amendments to keep Sisi in power, is adamant the changes are needed to allow him to complete political and economic reforms.

“The constitution in 2014 was written under tough exceptional circumstances,” he told reporters.

He hailed Sisi as a president who “took important political, economic and security measures... (and) must continue with his reforms,” in the face of the unrest gripping neighbouring countries.

The vote comes after two veteran presidents were ousted in Algeria and Sudan and amid an escalation of the conflict in Libya.

Keeping Sisi in power, he added, reflected “the will of the people.”

Sisi on Sunday met in Cairo with Khalifa Haftar, the commander of eastern-based Libyan forces, who is under international pressure to halt an advance on the capital Tripoli.

Egypt has close ties with Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) controls the east and swept through the mainly desert south earlier this year before moving to Tripoli ten days ago in a major escalation of conflict.

Agencies