Egyptian Party Members Resign in Row over Constitutional Amendments

Saturday, 16 February, 2019 - 10:15
Cairo - Asharq Al-Awsat

Egypt’s Conservative Party has witnessed a series of resignations after its leader, MP Akmal Kourtam, rejected parliament’s approval in principle of draft constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power until 2034.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdelaal said that 485 MPs in the 596-seat assembly voted in favor of the changes, comprising more than the two-thirds majority needed to pass the amendments. Local media said 17 voted against and one abstained.

The Speaker said the motion would be discussed by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee for 60 days before returning to parliament for a final vote followed by the referendum, likely to take place by the end of April.

During the vote on Thursday, Kourtam left the session following a heated exchange with several lawmakers.

A Conservative Party official in Asyut, Salah al-Sayyed, announced on Friday his resignation from the party’s general-secretariat to protest Kourtam’s rejection of the amendments, stressing his full support for the parliament’s latest move to extend Sisi’s term.

Several other party members in Dakahlia said they were also resigning from the party’s secretariat for the same purpose.

The proposed constitutional amendments include an extension of the presidential term to six years from four in Article 140 of the constitution, and a “transitional” clause that would reset the clock, potentially allowing Sisi to stay in power until 2034.

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