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Egypt to Hold Referendum on Constitutional Amendments

Egypt to Hold Referendum on Constitutional Amendments

Wednesday, 17 April, 2019 - 18:00
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Egypt will hold later this week a referendum on constitutional changes including amendments that could extend President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's rule until 2030.

Head of the National Election Authority Lashin Ibrahim told a press conference the vote will "take place inside Egypt" from April 20-22 and start a day earlier at diplomatic missions abroad.

The announcement came after parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the changes extending presidential terms from four to six years.

The amendments would prolong Sisi's current term to 2024 from 2022 and allow him to then run for another six-year term.

They would also grant the president new powers over the appointment of judicial officials, bolster the role of the military and create an upper parliamentary chamber.

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

Sisi won his first term as president in 2014 and was re-elected in March 2018.

Banners and billboards have gone up across the capital Cairo in the past few weeks urging people to take part in the plebiscite.

Many feature slogans implicitly urge people to back the amendments by doing "the right thing", while others sponsored by the pro-government Nation's Future party call outright for a "Yes" vote.

Cairo resident Sayed Abdel Fattah Ahmed told AFP that he was in favor of the changes.

"My view is that these amendments are essential," the 56-year-old said.

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