An Egyptian lawmaker who called for the constitution to be amended to extend the president’s term by two more years has retracted his comments following growing opposition to the idea.
Lawmaker Ismail Nasreddine’s comments were published in Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk and stated that the idea to amend the constitution would not apply to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s current four-year term but to the next president.
Once Al-Sisi completes his term in office in 10 months’ time he will be barred by the constitution to serve more than two four-year terms. Al-Sisi is expected to run in next year’s elections despite declining to state whether he would run for a second term and has urged Egyptians to vote next year.
Read: Egyptian opposition back ex-presidential candidate Khaled Ali
The amendment to the relevant clause in the 2014 charter would have to be approved by a national referendum. Nasreddine’s proposal was initially suspended and then renewed this month.
Despite being embraced by parliament’s largest pro-government bloc as it has faced opposition. Since taking office Al-Sisi has overseen an increased crackdown on dissent and mass arrests of opposition members. There have been reports that the presidency is seeking a closed election without an independent electoral committee so that Al-Sisi is likely to clinch a majority without any opposition.
Read: Sisi approves law regulating commission to run 2018 presidential election