Home World News "Constitutional coup" in Egypt extends President Sisi's power by 11 years

“Constitutional coup” in Egypt extends President Sisi’s power by 11 years Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 25, 2021


President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi of Egypt would remain in power until 2030, after Egyptian lawmakers on Tuesday approved sweeping changes in the country’s constitution.

Mr Sisi would not only be there for another 11 years, he was given unprecedented powers.
The changes have now cemented his authoritarian grip on the Arab world’s most populous nation.

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The parliament is dominated by Sissi’s loyalists and Tuesday’s vote was highly ecpected, especially because his regime  has widely silenced any dissension to the constitutional amendments.
It blocked or partly blocked tens of thousands of websites and domain names to restrict online content that allowed Egyptians access to the opposition campaign.

“The new constitutional amendments, which were quickly pushed through parliamentary hearings and debates over a few weeks, will now be to put to a public referendum, which is scheduled to take place over three days and could begin as early as next week. But critics say a free and fair vote is unlikely, given the government’s wide-scale efforts to suppress the opposition,” The Washington Post said.

“We know that the vast majority of Egyptians do not support these amendments, but a free and fair vote will be almost impossible,” Dina Darwish, an Egyptian American physician and activist, said in a statement, according to the Post.

“Many Egyptians fear for what will happen if they do not support Sissi. When a vote is based on fear, it is not a democratic vote.”

The Post said Ilif a majority of Egyptians vote in favor, it would extend presidential terms to six years. 

“So Sissi’s current term would be extended by two more years, and he would be permitted to run once again in 2024. That means, in theory, that Sissi could remain in power until 2030,” The Post said, adding that “when President Trump, during a meeting with Sissi last week at the White House, was asked about what human rights groups describe as a power grab in Egypt, Trump described Sissi as “a great president” and said that “he’s doing a great job.””

According to the Post, “Sissi would also receive new powers to appoint judges as well as the public prosecutor, in effect handing him control over the judiciary”.

The proposed changes also include amending the constitution to state that the military’s role is to protect “the constitution and democracy.”

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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