Egypt's pro-government media celebrated the results of a referendum on sweeping constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030 and entrench the military's authority. Yet opponents of the constitutional "reforms" reacted with dismay, frustration and a great deal of skepticism.
There was no doubt that voters would overwhelmingly approve the controversial constitutional changes, as the referendum lacked guarantees of being "free and fair," according to Transparency International. Yet the announcement by the National Election Authority on April 23 that nearly 90% of voters had backed the amendments dealt a heavy blow to the nearly 3 million citizens who had rejected them at the ballot box and an unknown number of others who boycotted the vote. Many activists expressed their grievances on social media, calling the referendum "null and void" and complaining that citizen participation in the vote had been "coerced."