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Proposed constitutional changes in Egypt criticized

Dr. Ayman Nour, former Egyptian presidential candidate in Istanbul, Turkey on 9 October 2018 [OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images]
Dr. Ayman Nour, former Egyptian presidential candidate in Istanbul, Turkey on 9 October 2018 [OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images]

The proposed constitutional amendments in Egypt and their impacts on people were discussed at a seminar held in Istanbul on Tuesday, Anadolu reports.

The Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) hosted the seminar titled “New Constitutional Amendments in Egypt: Causes and Consequences.”

The event held in association with Aljazeera Centre for Studies and Aljazeera Mubasher was broadcast live on Al Jazeera Mubasher.

Ayman Nour, chairman of Egypt’s Ghad Al-Thawra Party, said that proposed amendments need to be opposed.

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Referring to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Nour said: “The man, who governs Egypt, is trying to eliminate all the possibilities wanting him to go. He wants to cling to power by eliminating all the means. He is using the constitution as a tool.”

On Feb. 14, Egypt’s parliament approved proposed constitutional changes that would increase the duration of presidential terms from four to six years.

A total of 485 out of 596 MPs voted in favor of the proposed amendments. According to the constitution in its current form, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi cannot run for a third term in office.

Constitutional proposals could allow Sisi to stay in power till 2034 – Cartoon [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Terming the proposed amendments “harming,” Nour said: “When we look at all the Egyptian people; rightists, leftists, liberals or Islamists, they do not accept what al-Sisi is doing right now.”

However, he said, nobody wants to confront al-Sisi right now. “Those, who have opposed to him recently, have been remanded or killed,” he added.

Instead of opposition, the Ghad Al-Thawra Party chairman said, there is support for al-Sisi right now “because of fear”.

“We cannot see anybody opposing him [al-Sisi] in real terms. On the contrary, we much more hear supporting voices in Cairo in such an atmosphere as they fear,” he added.

READ: Family of Egypt prisoner plead for imminent execution to be halted 

Nour said they have asked people, who do not want amendments, to film a video to express their reaction.

“We’ve received 57,000 videos from people so far. They say ‘we never accept these amendments.’ Some of them showed the courage to clearly show their identity in the videos,” he added.

He stressed upon need of strengthening the voice of opposition outside of Egypt.

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was elected president the same year that Egypt’s 2014 constitution was ratified — and one year after he led a military coup against his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president.

In June of last year, al-Sisi was re-elected to a second presidential term, which is set to expire in 2022.

Stability, despotism

Tarek Al-Zomor, former chairman of the Building and Development Party in Egypt, said there is a need to differentiate between soldiers and generals when it comes to coup in Egypt.

“In Egypt, not soldiers but generals seized the power,” Al-Zomor said.

“They seized the control of the power. They tried to control all the community. They are very professional on this.

“Constitutional violations do not bring stability,” he said.

“Stability cannot be provided through despotism. Arrests, killings, and executions do not bring stability.

A man holds a poster of Mohammed Morsi during a protest against executions in Egypt, in front of the New York Times Building, in New York, United States, on March 02, 2019. ( Atılgan Özdil – Anadolu Agency )

“In order to provide stability, a real and legitimate ground should be established,” Al-Zomor added.

He called on political circles to reorganize themselves and fill the political vacuum in the country.

“They need to tell generals ‘we are smarter and stronger than you and you cannot play with us,’” he said.

“Our people cannot accept dictatorship and pressure,” Al-Zomor said. “We are not a slave,” he added.

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