In Summary
  • The amendments are to be put to a public referendum whose date is to be announced on Wednesday.
  • His government has been widely criticised by human rights groups for the repression of political opponents.
  • Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal said 531 deputies voted for the amendments and 22 against.

Cairo

Egypt's parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments allowing general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power until 2030, state media reported.

Deputies also backed other sweeping changes to the constitution including to give the military greater influence in political life as well as granting Sisi more control over the judiciary.

The amendments are to be put to a public referendum whose date is to be announced on Wednesday.

SIX YEARS

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

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

Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal said 531 deputies voted for the amendments and 22 against, according to Al-Ahram.

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.

REPRESSION

His government has been widely criticised by human rights groups for the repression of political opponents.

But Mohamed Abu Hamed, a member of parliament who pushed for the constitutional amendments to keep Sisi in power, was adamant the changes were needed to allow him to complete political and economic reforms.

"The constitution in 2014 was written under tough exceptional circumstances," he told AFP.

HAILED SISI

The deputy hailed Sisi as a president who "took important political, economic and security measures... (and) must continue with his reforms," in the face of the unrest gripping neighbouring countries.

The vote comes after veteran presidents were ousted both in Algeria and Sudan and amid an escalation of the conflict in Libya.

Keeping Sisi in power, he added, reflected "the will of the people".

Al-Ahram's website said MPs carried Egyptian flags as they gathered for the vote inside the parliament while nationalistic songs played in the background.

REFERENDUM

Wall-to-wall banners and billboards have flooded Cairo's streets in the past few weeks urging people to take part in the referendum.

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