Egyptian lawmakers have proposed changes to Egypt’s constitution, including amendments to expand the military’s powers and to allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to remain in office following the end of his second term, and potentially until 2034. The amendments have sparked controversy in the country, drawing mixed reactions from members of parliament, analysts and activists. The suggested alteration to Article 140 of the constitution would extend presidential terms from four to six years, and changes to Article 200 would allow the military to ensure “that the principles of the June 30 Revolution are observed,” which means preventing Islamists from ever rising to power. The amendments are being packaged with progressive changes, to make them more palatable to the public.
Sisi’s supporters praised the amendments, arguing that “four years are not enough” and that the president needs “more time to complete the development plans that he started,” while critics decried the changes as an “Arab Spring in reverse” and “a coup against the Egyptian Constitution.”
Though the two-term limit would remain in place for future presidents, these changes would reset the clock for Sisi, allowing him two additional terms after his current one ends in 2022.
Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University, warned on Twitter that the changes signal “the start of a major political battle between a people aspiring for freedom, social justice and human dignity and a ruler determined to remain president of Egypt for life.”