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Pharaoh motion: Egypt parliament debates amendments that could extend Sisi presidency to 2034 Open in fullscreen

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Pharaoh motion: Egypt parliament debates amendments that could extend Sisi presidency to 2034

The new amendments could allow General Sisi to remain in power until the mid-2030s [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 February, 2019

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Critics have dubbed the amendments 'the pharaoh motion' as they would install the general-turned-president as a de-facto absolute ruler.
Egypt’s parliament is debating a motion to amend the country’s constitution, a move that could allow President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to stay in office beyond his designated maximum two-term limit ending in 2022 by another 12 years.

Opposition lawmaker Haitham al-Hariri told AP a parliament session on Tuesday will discuss the motion, which was submitted on Sunday.

The proposed amendments also include the introduction of the role of vice president and a revived senate.

The proposed changes also give Sisi new powers over appointing judges and the public prosecutor, leading critics to dub them 'the pharaoh motion' as it would install the general-turned-president as a de-facto absolute ruler in the style of ancient Egypt.

The motion is nearly certain to be adopted by the legislature, which is packed with Sisi supporters.

Although the amendments would also need to be put to a national referendum, the Egyptian regime can easily rig it in its favour as it has done with presidential elections last year.

Prominent Egyptian opposition figures have rallied to reject proposed amendments to the country's constitution that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to extend his rule until 2034.

The online campaign gathered steam on Sunday after lawmakers tabled an amendment on the duration of presidential mandates and could see Sisi stay in power for another 16 years.

"No to amending the constitution," said opposition leader Hamdeen Sabahi, the only candidate who ran against Sisi in the 2014 presidential election.

Opposition lawmaker Haitham al-Hariri warned the changes to the constitution risked setting up an "evil, despotic" regime.

"Tampering with presidential terms in the constitution would establish an authoritarian, despotic regime that would be pure evil - so do not commit this crime," Hariri said in a Facebook post.

Sisi was elected in controversial elections in 2014, a year after leading the military’s overthrow of democratically elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who remains behind bars.

He was re-elected last year after all potentially serious challengers were jailed or pressured to leave the race.

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