Mahmoud Al-Sisi, the son of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, has been holding marathon meetings within the General Intelligence Service (GIS) while seeking to extend his father’s presidency, the New York Times has reported.
The GIS is one of Egypt’s three major security services; Mahmoud Al-Sisi occupies a senior position and has been holding the meetings almost daily under the supervision of the agency’s head Abbas Kamel. According to Mada Masr, Kamel has attended some of the meetings. The intention has been to finalise the constitutional amendments approved by parliament recently and the date of the referendum through which they will be passed into law.
The amendments would enable Al-Sisi Senior to remain President until 2034. The NYT has pointed out that he will have the power to appoint judges and the country’s prosecutor general, while the top echelon of the judiciary would be stripped of its authority to vet draft legislation.
The amendments also state that the military is the “guardian and protector” of Egypt’s Constitution and would control the appointment of the Defence Minister.
At least ten Egyptian human rights groups have warned that the proposed changes to the constitution would enable the President of the Republic to monopolise the position as long as he lives. The NYT has described this as “unprecedented authoritarian rule.”
However, the NYT added that Al-Sisi Senior has pledged not to remain in office against the will of people. “It doesn’t suit me as President to stay one more day against the will of the Egyptians,” he told CNBC in 2017. “We will not interfere with (the constitution). I am all for keeping the limit to two four-year terms.”
Al-Sisi’s supporters claim that he would remain in office in order to have enough time to implement his economic plans and bring security and stability to the country, even though it appears that the Egyptians are facing the prospect of a dynastic regime. While working to consolidate his father’s rule, Mahmoud Al-Sisi might well be working to pave the way for his own presidency.