Close to 90 percent of Egyptian referendum voters have approved Parliament’s amendments to the country’s constitution, effectively paving the way for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030. More than 44 percent from Egypt’s almost 100 million population voted in the three-day referendum, which is considered to be a “lower-than-normal turnout.” According to lasheen Ibrahim, Head of High Election Committee, “The number of those approving the constitutional amendments 23,416,741 votes representing 88.83%.”
The constitutional amendments, which were approved by Egypt’s parliament last week, will extend Sisi’s current term by two years- from four to six years – and allow him to run again for a third six-year term in 2024. These amendments will also bolster the military’s role, which is embroiled in a years-long battle against Islamist terrorists, in addition to expanding the president’s power over judicial appointments.
Supporters of the amendments insist that the changes are necessary to give President Sisi more time to complete major development projects and economic reforms, as well as provide continuity in the battle against terrorism.
His critics claim in contrast, that the changes concentrate more powers in the hands of a leader accused by human-rights groups and Islamist organizations of presiding over a relentless crackdown on democratic freedoms.