Egypt parliament approves law that could keep Sisi in power until 2030

Egypt parliament approves law that could keep Sisi in power until 2030
Egypt's parliament, packed with loyalists of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has approved a constitutional amendment that could keep Sisi in power till 2030.
2 min read
16 April, 2019
Egypt's parliament has passed an amendment extending President Sisi's rule [Getty]

Egypt's parliament has approved changes to the constitution on Tuesday that will allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power until 2030, state media reported.

"The president's current term shall expire at the end of six years from the date of his election as president in 2018," said the official Al-Ahram news website and broadcaster Nile TV.

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

Sisi's current term will now expire in 2024 rather than 2022. If he is elected for another term he will remain in power till 2030.

Constitional amendments voted through by parliament will have to be approved in a nationwide referendum, expected to be held before the end of the month.

Egyptian lawmakers are voting on the consitutional amendments one by one. 

Other passed amendments include giving the president power to appoint deputies and allocating a quarter of seats in the House of Representatives to women.

The constitutional changes, first introduced in February, by a pro-Sisi parliamentary block, bolster Sisi's powers as president, giving him the authority to appoint high-level judges and bypass judicial oversight on legislation.

Opposition figures have called the proposals an "Arab Spring in reverse" and an "attempt to derail the movement towards a modern civil democratic state".

Since Sisi's rise in 2013, Egypt has drawn heavy international criticism for its sweeping crackdown on dissent. 

The authorities have jailed thousands of Morsi's supporters as well as liberal and secular activists, including a popular blogger, actors, singers and journalists. 

Last week, Human Rights Watch warned that the amendments, which would also increase the military's political role and grant Sisi control over the judiciary, would "institutionalise authoritarianism".

"The regime is beyond confident that Sisi will get his own way. One way or another, for at the very least the next decade, Egypt's Pharaoh is going nowhere," writes Sam Hamad in his piece for The New Arab.

Human rights groups and opposition parties say the government has intensified its crackdown on dissent with a wave of arrests ahead of the vote.

Sisi led the army's overthrow of elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against the Islamist leader's rule.

He won his first term as president in 2014 and was re-elected in March 2018 with more than 97 percent of the vote, after standing virtually unopposed.

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