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Cowed Egyptians meet Sisi’s power grab with apathy

The rare voices who spoke out against the push to extend the president’s term have faced a campaign of intimidation.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is pictured during his meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cairo, Egypt, January 10, 2019. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS - RC127D944080

The Egyptian parliament on Feb. 14 overwhelmingly endorsed sweeping constitutional changes that include extending presidential terms from four years to six and exempting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi from his current two-term limit. Some 485 out of a total of 596 lawmakers (more than 81%) in the House of Representatives voted in favor of proposed revisions that could allow Sisi to remain in power until 2034 and would expand the military's authority by allowing a council of military officers to "oversee the state."

The proposed amendments have been submitted to parliament's Legislative and Constitutional Committee for review before they are put to a national referendum that critics expect will likely be rigged in favor of the changes.

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