Egypt parliament to vote on Tuesday on 'Pharaoh motion', extending Sisi's rule until 2030

Egypt parliament to vote on Tuesday on 'Pharaoh motion', extending Sisi's rule until 2030
Egypt's parliament will vote on the 'Pharaoh motion' on Tuesday. Besides giving the president a tighter grip on power, it could allow him to extend his rule until 2030.
3 min read
15 April, 2019
The constitutional amendments could allow incumbent President Sisi to stay in power till 2030 [Getty]
Egypt's parliament will vote on a series of constitutional amendments on Tuesday, including an extension to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's current four year term that could allow the incumbent ruler to remain in power until 2030.

The so-called "Pharaoh motion" is expected to be confirmed by Egyptian parliament, which has a tendency to rubber stamp the regime's proposals and has already given preliminary approval.

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

The constitutional amendments declare Sisi the "guardian and protector" of Egypt and are unlikely to be voted down by a parliament packed with supporters of the president.

If the amendments go through, they will then be voted on in a national referendum expected to be held before May.

The amendments were previously thought to extend the presidential term in office from four to six years and specifically allow for Sisi to run for two more six-year terms after his current, second term expires in 2022.

The latest Reuters report states the amendments will extend Sisi's current term by two more years and allow him to run once more in 2024 - allowing him to stay in power till 2030.

A petition against the proposed constitutional amendments, signed by nearly 60,000 people, was taken down by Egyptian authorities last week.

"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.

'Coup d'états will be constitutional'

The constitutional changes would also bolster Sisi's powers as president, giving him the authority to appoint high-level judges and bypass judicial oversight on legislation.

Crucially, the amendments would grant an already empowered military wider jurisdiction for trying civilians in its courts. Human Rights Watch says more than 15,000 civilians, including children, have been referred to military prosecution in Egypt in the last three years.

The alterations would also introduce one or two vice presidents, a new senate and a 25 percent quota for women in parliament.

There are also largely unnoticed and little discussed changes, described by Rana Allam in her article for The New Arab.

These include giving the president power to appoint the head of the constitutional court and diminishing the role of the state council, the administrative judiciary body tasked with reviewing decisions taken by the executive branch.

"The most dangerous of all is the article saying that the military is the 'protector of Egypt's democracy and constitution'. Basically, future coup d'états will be constitutional," writes Allam.

'Oustanding job'

US President Donald Trump has ignored demands to hold Sisi responsible for his gross human rights violation Egypt has witnessed since Sisi took over power.

During Sisi's visit to US last September, Trump said Egypt president was an "outstanding friend" and described his strategy with respect to handling terrorism as "an outstanding job".

Human rights groups have accused Sisi of overseeing the largest crackdown on dissent seen in the Arab nation's modern history.

Sisi was elected in 2014, a year after leading the military's overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president.

He was re-elected last year after all potentially serious challengers were jailed or pressured to leave the race.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab