Egyptians vote on extending el-Sisi's rule
April 20, 2019
Egyptians in hours will begin voting in a three-day referendum on contested constitutional amendments that could allow incumbent President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to rule until 2030.
The amendments would extend el-Sisi's current term from four to six years, to end in 2024.
A proposed provisional article allows him to run for one more six-year term, potentially staying in power until 2030.
The proposed changes also allow the president to appoint senior judicial positions and envisage a bigger role for the army.
Earlier this week, the parliament, led by el-Sisi's loyalists, approved the draft amendments.
Proponents say the proposed changes to the 2014 constitution are necessary for long-lasting stability in Egypt.
Opponents say the amendments are aimed at tightening el-Sisi's hold on power and breach the judiciary's independence.
El-Sisi took office in 2014, a year after he led the overthrow of the country's first democratically elected but divisive president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last year, el-Sisi was re-elected with a landslide in polls that pitted him only against a self-declared loyalist.
About 61.3 million eligible voters are to cast ballots at around 14,000 polling stations spread across Egypt's 27 provinces, according to official figures.
Polling stations are to open from 9am (5pm, AEDT) for 12 hours over three consecutive days beginning on Saturday.
The final result is expected to be officially announced by April 27.