Egyptian lawmakers hold last debate before vote on constitution

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Egypt’s parliament held its last debate Tuesday on proposed amendments to the constitution that could see President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi remain in power until 2030.

The 596-member assembly, packed with al-Sisi’s supporters, overwhelmingly gave its initial approval for the proposals in February and sent it to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee to finalize the wording before the final vote on Tuesday.


“Today we are concluding what we started in February,” speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said at the beginning of the session. “In this great day, we offer to the Egyptian people a draft bill of the constitutional amendments.”

Abdel-Aal added that a civilian state does not mean a secular, religious or military state. “The civilian state is far different from the three,” he said.

Once approved by lawmakers, the constitutional amendments go to a national referendum, likely before early May when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starts.

The proposals would only extend a president’s term in office from four to six years and allow for a maximum of two terms. But they also include a special article on al-Sisi that extends his current second four-year term to six years and allows him to run for another six-year term in 2024 - potentially extending his rule till 2030.

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