Egypt MPs table law amendment to extend El-Sisi rule

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi giving a speech during his swearing in ceremony for a second four-year term in office, at the parliament meeting hall in the capital Cairo. (AFP/File)
Updated 04 February 2019
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Egypt MPs table law amendment to extend El-Sisi rule

  • The lawmakers who put forward the amendments hope to extend the length of mandates to two six-year terms

CAIRO: Egyptian lawmakers on Sunday tabled proposed constitutional changes that would allow President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to extend his rule beyond 2022, legislators said.

The bill submitted to speaker Ali Abdel Aal calls for several amendments to the constitution, including on the duration of presidential mandates currently limited to two four-year terms.

The lawmakers who put forward the amendments hope to extend the length of mandates to two six-year terms, which they say would allow El-Sisi to run for the presidency two more times after his second term expires in 2022.

That could see the former military chief ruling over Egypt until 2034.

The Parliament’s website said speaker Abdel Aal had received a “request from a fifth of the elected representatives (120 deputies out of the total 596) to amend certain articles of the constitution.”

That number fulfils the quorum required for such a request.

A statement published later on the Parliament’s website outlined seven amendments that it said would address “severe deficiencies in determining the presidency term.” 

Terms would become six years instead of four years, since the current term length “isn’t quite reasonable given the reality and the country’s and region’s circumstances,” it said.

The revisions were aimed at supporting the parliamentary representation of women, youths, Christians, people with special needs and Egyptians in the diaspora, it added.

They would include “the establishment of a second chamber of parliament... and the creation of the post of vice president to assist the president in his duties,” said the statement.

The bill was submitted by the majority pro-government Support Egypt coalition along with some independents, said Musatafa Bakri, one of the lawmakers who favors the change.

Jean Talaat, another El-Sisi backer, said “the amendments concern fewer than 10 articles of the constitution, including on the duration of the presidential term for its extension to six years.”

The establishment of a lower house would see a return to a bicameral parliamentary system.

That chamber was removed in the 2012 constitution, a year after the uprising that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak.

Another amendment would see the reinstatement of an information ministry, a portfolio that was abolished in 2014.

El-Sisi was elected for the first time in 2014, after ousting his predecessor Muhammad Mursi. The former army head was re-elected in 2018 with an official 97 percent of the vote. The vast majority of the current Parliament supports the El-Sisi government, with only around 10 lawmakers making up the opposition.


Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

Mazen Al-Tarazi has been living in Kuwait for a long while. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Syrian businessman linked to Assad arrested in Kuwait

  • The businessman has a publishing and advertising company in Kuwait
  • He is blacklisted in the EU

KUWAIT CITY: A prominent Syrian businessman with close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad has been arrested in Kuwait, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Mazen Al-Tarazi was arrested late Monday at his offices, his lawyer Badr Al-Yacoub told AFP.
He said that he did not yet know the reasons behind his client’s arrest.
Local authorities did not immediately release the charges against Tarazi.
But Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, citing unnamed informed sources, reported that the businessman is accused of money laundering and printing texts without authorization.
A longtime resident of Kuwait, Tarazi owns a publishing and advertising firm in partnership with a high-profile local businessman, Ahmad Al-Jarallah.
Jarallah confirmed to AFP that police had raided his offices on Monday night and arrested Tarazi’s secretary and two Al-Hadaf magazine employees.
Tarazi is on an EU blacklist of Syrian nationals who have been banned from entry to European states and whose assets have been frozen over their role in the Syria war.