Egypt polls close after 3-day vote to extend el-Sissi’s rule until 2030
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Egypt polls close after 3-day vote to extend el-Sissi’s rule until 2030

Constitutional amendment, seen as another step toward authoritarian rule eight years after pro-democracy uprising, is nearly guaranteed to pass

Election workers count ballots at the end of three-day vote on constitutional amendments at a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Election workers count ballots at the end of three-day vote on constitutional amendments at a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, April 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Polling centers in Egypt closed Monday after a third and final day of voting on constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to remain in office until 2030 and broaden the military’s role.

The results are expected within a week. The referendum is virtually guaranteed to be approved, as the government pushed for high turnout to grant it legitimacy.

Authorities have waged a wide-scale crackdown on dissent since el-Sissi led the military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The referendum is widely seen as another step toward restoring authoritarian rule eight years after a pro-democracy uprising.

Opposition parties have called on voters to reject the measure, but they have little influence in parliament, which is packed with el-Sissi supporters and overwhelmingly approved the changes.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi addresses the chamber after he was sworn in for a second four-year term in Cairo, June 2, 2018. (Egypt’s presidency media office via AP)

Trucks with loudspeakers drove around central Cairo Monday morning, playing patriotic songs and urging people to vote. Some voters were offered free rides or food parcels to increase turnout in the referendum.

The National Council for Human Rights, a state-appointed body, reported Sunday that people were giving food to voters, and said cars with signs advertising political parties could be seen transporting people to voting centers.

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