Voting Begins on Egyptian Constitutional Amendments

Expatriate Egyptians began voting Friday on constitutional changes that could allow Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in office until 2030.

Voting begins inside Egyptian borders on Saturday � less than a week after parliament approved the measure.

If passed, the amendments also would deepen presidential powers and military presence within communities. The presidential term would be increased from four to six years and Sissi would be allowed to run for a third term in 2024.

Supporters of the referendum have hailed the vote as a national duty, but critics charge that the vote is simply a power-grab in a country where political diversity has dissolved almost completely.

Organized opposition is almost non-existent, with many leading public figures, businesses and media houses firmly in league with the current government.

Officials promised to announce the results by April 27 and say if the measure passes, they will implement the constitutional reforms swiftly.

Many of the amendments pertain to the government’s structure, creating new positions and increasing the number of presidential appointees. The Egyptian military, which already wields tremendous economic and political power in Egypt, also will increase its role in criminal justice, if the referendum passes.

Source: Voice of America