Egypt's former interim Vice President, Mohamed El-Baradei, yesterday called on political groups either to agree to participate honestly and wholeheartedly in the vote on constitutional amendments to be discussed by parliament or boycott it altogether.
"It is impossible to stand up to popular will," El-Baradei wrote on Twitter, "and the main obstacle is how to overcome attempts to remove it from the debate in a climate of intimidation and closure of the public sphere."
He called on parties and politicians to discard differences, unite ranks and agree to participate wholeheartedly or boycott the process. The main features of the efforts to amend the constitution, he pointed out, include "extending the presidential term limit; diminishing judicial independence; and anointing the military as the guardian of the state." This, he added, is the Arab Spring in reverse.
The Egyptian authorities did not comment on El-Baradei's remarks.
The Egyptian parliament announced on Sunday that the Support Egypt coalition has proposed a constitutional amendment bill to the House Speaker, Ali Abdel Aal, which includes extending the presidential term from four to six years. No further details were provided on whether the amendment would include extending the current mandate of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi whose second term ends in 2022.