Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is proposing changes to the constitution, which have met with stark opposition from his opponents. The changes would make him President beyond the end of his current term in 2022. Egypt’s Parliament has preliminarily approved the changes after two-thirds of the general committee endorsed the proposed amendments earlier this week. The final vote is to be taken on 17 February but the amendments would also need to be approved in a national referendum.
Sisi’s opponents, however, say that there is a constitutional clause in place that bars extending the two-term limit. Khaled Dawood, another opposition leader and former head of the liberal Dostour (Constitution) Party, commented that “we will challenge the proposed amendment before the country’s supreme constitutional court”. The “attack” on the Constitution has been expected. Pro-government parliamentarians and media figures have argued for a long time that the Constitution was in a way of the President’s efforts to advance the country, which would in Mr. Sisi’s view include overhaul of the economy and armed groups.
The current constitution was adopted in 2014 after the military overthrew of the Islamist President Mohamed Mursi following protests against his rule. The amendments also propose restoring the Shura Council, an upper chamber that operated alongside the current House of Representatives, prior to 2014. Other proposals include a quota guaranteeing women at least a fourth of the parliament seats, as well as “adequate representation” for youth, farmers, workers and Egypt’s Christian minority. The European Union leaders have yet to comment on the submitted motion to amend the Egyptian constitution.