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.Full Article: Egyptians split as lawmakers pave way for Sisi to be 'president for life'.
Voters may get to decide whether to change the term limit for South Dakota legislators. Senate Joint Resolution 1, introduced on Wednesday, asks voters in November to amend the South Dakota Constitution to limit legislators to two four-year terms instead of the current limit of four two-year terms. The amendment wouldn’t change the total of eight years that a legislator can serve in the House or Senate. Once legislators reach their term limit, they’ll still be eligible to serve in the other legislative chamber or sit out an election before running again for the same chamber.Full Article: South Dakota Legislature: Lawmakers weigh sending term limit change to voters.
Proposals to limit corporate money in politics and personal use of campaign funds, along with bills to expand absentee voting or address problems with incorrectly assigned voters that wreaked havoc on Virginia’s 2017 elections, are set to be considered by the Virginia General Assembly in the session that begins Wednesday. Redistricting changes are a key issue this year, since any significant change to policy would require an amendment to the state constitution be approved by both this year’s session and the next, before sending it to Virginia voters in 2020. Proposals meant to remedy voters being assigned to the wrong districts would require additional reviews and attempts to restrict the number of precincts split between multiple legislative districts.Full Article: Money in politics, voting, term limits among 2019 Va. elections bills | WTOP.
A Bolivian court has given a green light for President Evo Morales to seek a fourth term in office, which opponents say is unconstitutional. “The full chamber of the Supreme Electoral Court, by virtue of the jurisdiction and competence exercised by law,” approved nine candidates for primary elections in January, including Morales, according to the decision, which was read out at a press briefing. The decision on Tuesday night came just as opposition to Morales’s candidacy was building, with protesters marching in the capital, La Paz, last week. A general strike was called for next Thursday to oppose Morales’ re-election bid. Morales had previously accepted the results of a 2016 referendum, when 51 percent of Bolivian voters rejected his proposal to end existing term limits.Full Article: Bolivia court allows President Morales to run for fourth term | Bolivia News | Al Jazeera.
An effort to impose the strictest term limits in the nation on Arkansas’ Legislature was challenged Wednesday by two industry groups that asked the state Supreme Court to disqualify the proposed limits from the November ballot. Arkansans for Common Sense Term Limits, a campaign formed by the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the state Chamber of Commerce, filed the lawsuit with the state high court over the proposed constitutional amendment on term limits. The measure would limit Arkansas lawmakers to two four-year terms in the Senate and three two-year terms in the House, with a total cap of 10 years in office. Arkansas lawmakers are currently limited to a total of 16 years in the House, Senate or a combination of both.Full Article: Groups ask court to disqualify Arkansas term limits proposal | The Kansas City Star.
A proposed constitutional amendment that would limit state lawmakers to serving a maximum of 10 years qualified for the Nov. 6 general election ballot, an official in the secretary of state’s office said Friday. The Arkansas Term Limits committee’s ballot proposal also would limit lawmakers to serving three two-year terms as a state representative, two four-year terms as a senator or any terms that would exceed a total of 10 years in the General Assembly. The amendment wouldn’t affect members of Congress. If approved by voters, Arkansas’ legislative term limits would be the strictest in the nation, said John Mahoney, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures.Full Article: Proposed cap for terms gets on state ballot.
Voters in Comoros overwhelmingly backed controversial constitutional reforms that would allow President Azali Assoumani to run for another term, an electoral official said Monday, following a referendum boycotted by the opposition. The Indian Ocean archipelago has a long history of instability and risks renewed unrest after Assoumani banned demonstrations and the opposition called Monday’s vote “illegal”. “I’ll give you the national results… ‘Yes,’ 172,240 votes, which is 92.74 percent. ‘No,’ 13,338 votes, which is 7.26 percent,” the president of the Comoros National Electoral Commission (CENI), Ahmed Mohamed Djaza, told a briefing in the capital Moroni. Turnout was 63.9 percent, he added.Full Article: Comoros president wins controversial vote extending his powers - Journal du Cameroun.
Uganda’s constitutional court yesterday approved removing the presidential age limit of 75 years, a ruling that would potentially allow President Yoweri Museveni to extend his three-decade rule. It endorsed parliament’s decision to scrap the cap in December that drew accusations from opposition parties that the 73-year-old Museveni wanted to be president for life and brought protesters onto the streets. “The removal of age limit may encourage an incumbent to wish to keep himself in office perpetually but the citizens still retain the power to either return the same president or elect a different one,” said Elizabeth Musoke, one of three judges who endorsed the amendment. One of the five judges said no, another had yet to deliver his verdict.Full Article: Uganda court validates law allowing Museveni to seek re-election | World | Malay Mail.
The sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit state lawmakers to serving 10 years said Friday that they have collected more than 135,000 signatures of registered voters in their attempt to qualify their measure for the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Thomas Steele of Little Rock, chairman of the Arkansas Term Limits committee, signed an affidavit stating that the committee turned in 135,590 signatures on parts of 19,714 petitions to the secretary of state’s office. To qualify for the ballot, sponsors of constitutional amendments are required to collect 84,859 signatures of registered voters. Friday was the deadline for sponsors of ballot measures to turn in their petitions.Full Article: Group submits petitions calling for term limits in state.
The United States on Thursday condemned a bill proposed by South Sudan’s government that would extend President Salva Kiir’s term for three years. “The draft bill undermines ongoing peace talks with opposition groups and civil society,” a State Department official, who spoke on condition anonymity, said. Backed by the United States, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Fighting broke out two years later over a political disagreement between Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar. Tens of thousands of people have since been killed and over three million forced to flee their homes.Full Article: U.S. condemns effort to extend South Sudan president's term | Reuters.
The Comoran vice-president has denounced as “illegal” a planned July referendum on constitutional reform that could allow President Azali Assoumani to seek re-election. Assoumani only took office in 2016 but wants to hold a fresh vote next year, two years early, so that he can remain in power beyond 2021 when his currently non-renewable term would otherwise end. The referendum, scheduled for July 29, could change the current system — which sees power rotate every five years between the archipelago’s three main islands — and enable the president to run for two fresh five year-terms.Full Article: Comoros vice-president denounces 'illegal' referendum - Journal du Cameroun.
As many as five million people went to the polls in Burundi on Thursday to vote on a referendum to alter the country’s constitution. I came here as one of the few foreign reporters with a visa and accreditation to cover the scenes at the polls, where voters are deciding on some significant changes. The biggest change of the new constitution would be the extension of the presidential term, from five years to seven years. Pierre Nkurunziza, who has been president of Burundi since 2005, is widely expected to use the new constitution — if it passes — to run in 2020. Under the new rules, he could stay in power until 2034 — and then run again (and again) after sitting out for just one term. Most foreign correspondents were denied access, and two weeks ago the government suspended the BBC and Voice of America from broadcasting inside the country. With help from local journalists, I visited polls in the northern province, home to both Burundi’s president and his biggest challenger, Agathon Rwasa, and I spoke with those casting their ballots. These ladies posed for a photo as they waited after the president left his polling station.Full Article: In Tiny Burundi, a Huge Vote - The New York Times.
Burundi’s president joined long lines of voters Thursday in a referendum that could extend his rule until 2034, despite widespread opposition and fears that the country’s years of deadly political turmoil will continue. “I thank all Burundians who woke up early in the morning to do this noble patriotic gesture,” President Pierre Nkurunziza said after casting his ballot in his home province of Ngonzi. Nkurunziza had campaigned forcefully for the constitutional changes that include extending the president’s term from five years to seven. That could give him another 14 years in power when his current term expires in 2020. He is the latest in a number of African leaders who are changing their countries’ constitutions or using other means to stay in office.Full Article: Burundi votes on extending president's power until 2034.
Burundi: A lot is at stake as Burundi votes tomorrow on controversial constitutional amendments | The Washington Post
On Thursday, Burundi will hold a referendum to revise its constitution. The current constitution, adopted in 2005, grew from the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which helped end Burundi’s civil war by establishing one of Africa’s most inclusive political arrangements. The proposed amendments threaten to dismantle the Arusha Agreement without a broad national debate — and could lead to renewed instability. During Burundi’s civil war, which lasted from 1993 to 2005, rebels from the Hutu majority battled the ruling minority Tutsi army. The war started after Tutsi soldiers assassinated Melchior Ndadaye — the country’s first democratically elected president and first Hutu president. Leaders from countries in the region, including Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda, and international organizations such as the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations, worked for two years with Burundian political and armed actors to negotiate the Arusha Agreement.Full Article: Burundi votes tomorrow on controversial constitutional amendments. A lot is at stake. - The Washington Post.
President Xi Jinping set China on course to follow his hard-line authoritarian rule far into the future on Sunday, when the national legislature lifted the presidential term limit and gave constitutional backing to expanding the reach of the Communist Party. Under the red-starred dome of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, nearly 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress, the party-controlled legislature, voted almost unanimously to approve an amendment to the Constitution to abolish the term limit on the presidency, opening the way for Mr. Xi to rule indefinitely. The amendment was among a set of 21 constitutional changes approved by the congress, which included passages added to the Constitution to salute Mr. Xi and his drive to entrench party supremacy.Full Article: China’s Legislature Blesses Xi’s Indefinite Rule. It Was 2,958 to 2. - The New York Times.
U.S. President Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday after the ruling Communist party announced it was eliminating the two-term limit for the presidency, paving the way for Xi to serve indefinitely, according to audio aired by CNN. “He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great,” Trump said, according to audio of excerpts of Trump’s remarks at a closed-door fundraiser in Florida aired by CNN.“And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Trump said to cheers and applause from supporters. It is not clear if Trump, 71, was making the comment about extending presidential service in jest. The White House did not respond to a request for comment late Saturday.Full Article: Trump praises Chinese president extending tenure 'for life'.
In a rare public expression of dissent in China, a well-known political commentator and a prominent businesswoman have penned open letters urging lawmakers to reject a plan that would allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. Their impassioned statements on a popular messaging app were circulated widely after the ruling Communist Party announced a proposal Sunday to amend the constitution to scrap term limits on the president and vice president. In a statement Monday on WeChat to Beijing’s members of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, Li Datong, a former editor for the state-run China Youth Daily, wrote that lifting term limits would “sow the seeds of chaos.”Full Article: Xi term limit proposal sparks rare public dissent in China - The Washington Post.
China’s ruling party is considering scrapping term limits for the president and vice president, it announced on Sunday. The Communist party of China has proposed to change the country’s constitution so that the president and vice president can serve more than two consecutive terms. Currently, there is a limit of two five-year terms for both presidents and vice presidents. The amendment would allow current President Xi Jinping, 64, to be elected again during the next elections in 2023.Full Article: China's ruling party proposes to abolish presidential term limits | News | Al Jazeera.
Debate on age limits and term length for the president of Uganda came to a sudden halt Tuesday when a lawmaker reported seeing soldiers on the premises. The allegation led to a scuffle between legislators and parliamentary police. The legislature was already on edge because of the proposals being discussed. Parliament is debating a bill that would abolish the age limit for 75 presidential candidates, a move that would enable longtime President Yoweri Museveni to run for another term in the 2021 election. Opposition lawmakers and some members of the ruling party object to the bill, and debate that began Monday has been tumultuous. On Monday, shouting and chair-throwing forced Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to suspend six members of parliament.Full Article: In Uganda, Debate on Presidential Term, Age Limits Turns Raucous.
Bolivia’s socialist President Evo Morales on Wednesday hailed a decision by the country’s highest court to allow him to run for another re-election as “a great surprise for the people, for the revolutionaries, for the anti-imperialists.” The opposition said it would march against the ruling announced on Tuesday by the Constitutional Court, which paved the way for Morales to run for a fourth term in 2019. The court decision was final and cannot be appealed. The ruling “guarantees a democratic continuity, but also guarantees stability, dignity and work for the Bolivian people,” Morales said during a news conference.Full Article: Bolivian president welcomes, opposition slams re-election ruling.