Egypt's parliament backs measures that could extend Sisi's term

Egypt's parliament backs measures that could extend Sisi's term

CAIRO- Reuters
Egypts parliament backs measures that could extend Sisis term

Egypt's parliament on April 16 approved amendments to the constitution that could keep President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in power until 2030, though they still have to be endorsed in a referendum to take effect.

The changes would extend Sisi's current term to six years from four and then allow him to run again for a third term, which would last six years. The amendments would also bolster the role of the military in political life and increase the president's power over the judiciary, critics of the changes say.

The 596-member parliament, which is dominated by Sisi supporters, voted 531 to 22 in favor of the amendments.

A date for the referendum has not yet been confirmed, but Cairo is full of banners encouraging Egyptians to participate.

Sisi's supporters say the changes are necessary to give him more time to complete major development projects and economic reforms. His critics say they concentrate more powers in the hands of a leader accused by rights groups of presiding over a relentless crackdown on freedoms.

The changes include creating a second parliamentary chamber to be known as the Senate, composed of at least 180 members, a third of whom would be appointed by the president. They would also give the president new powers over the appointment of judges and the public prosecutor.

In a report about the draft amendments, the parliament's legislative committee said a four-year term was not enough in Egypt, which is still recovering from the turmoil that followed a 2011 uprising.