Egypt referendum on El-Sisi term extension to start Saturday

A man walks in front of a banner reading, "Yes to the constitutional amendments, for a better future", with a photo of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Updated 18 April 2019
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Egypt referendum on El-Sisi term extension to start Saturday

CAIRO: Egypt on Wednesday set a referendum for April 20-22 on sweeping consitutional changes including amendments that could extend President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's rule until 2030.
"The referendum process ... will take place inside Egypt... from April 20-22," Lashin Ibrahim, head of the National Election Authority said at a press conference.
The announcement came after Egypt's parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed the changes, despite complaints from critics that they are "unconstitutional" and designed to "consolidate authoritarianism".
The amendments extend presidential terms from four to six years, but maintain a limit of two terms.
Under the changes, El-Sisi's current term will be prolonged to 2024 from 2022 and he would then be allowed to run for another six-year term.
The constitutional changes also include giving the military greater influence in political life, granting El-Sisi wide control over the judiciary and broadening the jurisdiction of military courts over civilians.
As a military chief, El-Sisi led the army's overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against the Islamist leader's rule.
He won his first term as president in 2014 and was re-elected in March 2018 with more than 97 percent of the vote, after standing virtually unopposed.
His government has been widely criticised by human rights groups for the repression of political opponents.


Iran still short of nuclear deal’s enriched uranium cap: diplomats

Updated 7 min 19 sec ago
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Iran still short of nuclear deal’s enriched uranium cap: diplomats

  • Two diplomats said Iran produces around 1kg of enriched uranium a day
  • UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Iran currently has around 200kg of low-enriched uranium

VIENNA: Iran is still short of the maximum amount of enriched uranium it is allowed to have under its deal with major powers but it is on course to reach that limit at the weekend, the latest data from UN nuclear inspectors shows, diplomats say.
On Wednesday, the UN nuclear watchdog verified that Iran had roughly 200 kg of low-enriched uranium, below the deal’s 202.8 kg limit, three diplomats who follow the agency’s work said.
Two of the diplomats said Iran was producing at a rate of around 1 kg a day, suggesting it will not make good on its announcement that it would reach the limit on Thursday, but it could go over the line soon after a meeting with other signatories of the deal in Vienna on Friday that is aimed at saving the accord.