Skip to main content

Egypt campaign to reject Sisi's power grab gains traction

A campaign to reject constitutional amendments that would extend President Sisi's term has led to an unlikely alignment between Egypt's Islamists and secular activists.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrives at the airport in Amman, Jordan, January 13, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed - RC18822E9AF0

In recent days, Egyptian activists have called via social media for Egypt to unite in the face of the current "constitutional crisis," as some describe it. The appeals come following parliament's overwhelming — and rather swift — approval of controversial amendments that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to extend his rule, potentially by 12 additional years after his current term ends in 2022. More than 80% of lawmakers voted in favor of the constitutional changes on Feb. 14, paving the way for Sisi's power grab and for further entrenchment of the military in politics.

"The power of rejection is formidable. Close ranks and unite. We shall win," tweeted Amr Waked, an actor and activist who has been a vocal critic of Sisi's policies. Using the hashtag #NoToConstitutionalAmendments, Waked urged his followers to reject the proposed amendments and to wear black on the day of a planned referendum "to prevent the vote from being rigged." By wearing the same color, voters opposed to the amendments will be immediately recognizable and thus able to fight the government's claims that Egyptians are overwhelmingly in favor of the changes.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.