Egypt’s parliament will hear from politicians, business leaders and civil society on changes to the constitution that seek to create a second chamber of parliament, extend presidential terms from four to six years and add one or more vice presidents.
Originally proposed in February by the pro-government Support Egypt bloc, 485 out of parliament’s 596 members voted in favor of the changes.
Critics of the amendments have raised concerns that their broad wording, specifically regarding presidential term limits, could open the door for the indefinite rule of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. In addition, they claim that making the military “guardian and protector” of the Egyptian state could lead to its endless interference in politics.
Following the community dialogue sessions—expected to end tomorrow—parliament is expected to vote in favor of sending the amendments to a referendum, inviting Egyptian citizens to decide whether to pass the amendments. The referendum will likely take place in mid-April, but many commentators have dismissed the public vote as rigged. With growing discontent in the Egyptian public leading to calls for protest, growing unrest up to and through the referendum remains likely.
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