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Fri Apr 19, 2019, 01:26 PM

Egypt holds snap vote on extending president's term limit

Source: The Guardian

Egypt holds snap vote on extending president's term limit

Voting in referendum to begin just four days after MPs backed constitutional changes

Ruth Michaelson
Fri 19 Apr 2019 15.38 BST Last modified on Fri 19 Apr 2019 17.50 BST

Egyptians are due to vote in a referendum that is expected to confirm sweeping changes to the constitution and could allow President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030.

The rush to the ballot boxes was triggered when 531 out of 596 members of parliament backed the constitutional amendments on Tuesday. The national electoral commission declared the next day that the public vote would begin on Saturday.

The proposed changes would extend Sisi’s current term by two years and allow him to run for a third in 2024. They would also enshrine the military’s role in politics and increase Sisi’s control over the judiciary, while creating an upper house of parliament, a vice-presidential position and a minimum 25% quota for female MPs.

Even if the speed of the vote was unusual, that a referendum was happening surprised no one, as banners and posters in support of the changes had covered the streets for weeks before the vote in parliament. The adverts said: “Participation is an act of responsibility” and voters should “do the right thing”, while TV channels released music videos that declared people should “go down and participate”. None of the messaging suggested citizens should participate in order to vote no.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/19/egypt-holds-snap-vote-on-extending-presidents-term-limit

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