Egyptian parliament okays extending Sissi rule until 2030
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Egyptian parliament okays extending Sissi rule until 2030

Amendments will let strongman leader rule for 2 more 6-year terms; critics fear another upcoming vote might allow military more influence in political life

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is shown while meeting President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is shown while meeting President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Members of Egypt’s parliament on Tuesday approved changes to the constitution that will allow President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to stay in power until 2030, state media reported.

“The president’s current term shall expire at the end of six years from the date of his election as president in 2018,” said the official Al-Ahram news website and broadcaster Nile TV.

“He can be re-elected for another [six-year] term.”

The vote took place at an Egyptian parliamentary session on Tuesday. The 596-seat parliament was packed with Sissi loyalists.

The accepted constitutional amendments were initially introduced in February by a parliamentary bloc supportive of Sissi and updated this week after several rounds of debates.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi addresses parliament in Cairo, Egypt on February 13, 2016. (MENA via AP, File)

They include changing Article 140 of the constitution to allow the president to extend his current four-year term, which ends in 2022, by two years.

Parliament is also due to vote on a controversial article which critics fear might allow the military a greater influence in Egyptian political life.

State-run Al-Ahram news website said several MPs carried Egyptian flags as they gathered for the vote inside the parliament while nationalistic songs played in the background.

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi reviews honor guards, April 24, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Jim Watson/Pool)

After militarily overthrowing Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, Sissi rode a populist wave and cruised to victory to become president in elections on May 28, 2014 winning nearly 97 percent of the vote.

Toward the end of 2015, a new parliament stacked with loyalist MPs was elected.

In March 2018, Sissi was re-elected with 97.08% of the vote. His only opponent in the election was one of his ardent supporters.

A whole host of international powers embraced the Egyptian strongman after he took up the reigns of power.

In this March 28, 2015 file photo provided by Egypt’s state news agency MENA, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, talks with Saudi King Salman after the king arrives in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the southern Sinai. (MENA via AP, File)

Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Cairo for the first time in 10 years in February, 2015 to sign an agreement for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.

In late March 2015, the United States lifted a partial freeze on military aid to Egypt.

In April 2016, Saudi King Salman visited and relaunched ties between the two countries. His son Mohammed bin Salman strategically chose Cairo for his maiden tour as new crown prince in March 2018.

But the most enthusiastic endorsements come from US President Donald Trump. Sissi visited Washington on April 3, 2017 where Trump said he is doing “a fantastic job.”

Sissi made a second visit to the White House on April 9 of this year.

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