Egyptians vote for second day on constitutional changes

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People wait to cast their votes during the second day of the referendum on draft constitutional amendments, at a polling station in Cairo, Egypt April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
People wait to cast their votes during the second day of the referendum on draft constitutional amendments, at a polling station in Cairo, Egypt April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egyptians have voted for a second day running on whether to back constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030.

This is part of a three-day referendum, which was called last week. It came a day after Egypt’s 596-member parliament endorsed the draft amendments by 531 to 22.

Voting in the referendum continues until Monday to maximize voter turnout.

If approved, the amendments would extend Sisi’s current term to six years from four and allow him to run again for a third six-year term in 2024.

They would also grant the president control over appointing head judges and the public prosecutor from a pool of candidates, and give Egypt’s powerful military the role of protecting “the constitution and democracy”.

Sisi’s supporters say he has stabilised Egypt since becoming president in 2014, but needs more time to pursue development projects. Critics say the changes are anti-democratic and designed to tighten his grip on power.

Some 61 million of Egypt’s nearly 100 million population are eligible to vote. The result is expected within five days of the final day of voting.

 

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