Egypt’s parliament yesterday began preliminary deliberations over constitutional amendments, which included extending the country’s presidency term to six years instead of four, as well as allowing the incumbent president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to run for a new term.
Local media reported that the session was opened by the parliament’s speaker, Ali Abdel Aal, who informed Egyptian lawmakers that there would be a “national dialogue” and that “all opinions and trends will be included in the discussions”.
Last week, the parliament announced it would mull a constitutional amendment proposal drafted by the parliament’s pro-government “Support Egypt” coalition, which represents the majority of the country’s House of Representatives.
The amendments were said to have proposed allowing any president to run for two consecutive six-year terms instead of the current four-year term, appoint a vice president, amend regulations on the judiciary and recreate a second upper house by the name of the Senate.
Reuters recently quoted official Egyptian parliament sources as saying that the proposed amendments would allow “Sisi to remain in presidency until 2034”.The Egyptian presidency has not commented on the amendments proposal.
In November 2017, Sisi told CNBC that he had no intention of amending the constitution and that he refused a third term. “I am [in favour of] preserving two four-year terms and not to change it […] I am not for any amendments to be made to the constitution in this period,” Al-Sisi said in an interview with the American channel.
According to Egyptian law, any changes in the constitution require an approval by two-thirds of parliament members, followed by a referendum.
Al-Sisi was Egypt’s former defence minister who came to power after he ousted Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi in a military coup in 2013.