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Egypt's president could stay in power until 2030

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By Shea Lawrence
A campaign poster for Al-Sisi's constitutional amendment
A campaign poster for Al-Sisi's constitutional amendment   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt's parliament have approved amendments to the constitution that could keep President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in power until 2030.

The reform must still be endorsed in a referendum which, if approved, would lengthen the country's presidential terms to six years including Sisi's current term.

President al-Sisi is due to stand down in 2022 but the new amendment would extend his term to 2024 and allow him to run one more time - winning would lead to another six years in power.

The former general became president in 2014 after a coup in the previous year. He was re-elected in 2018 with 97.8% of the vote but many opposing candidates were jailed or pressured to stand down

Egypt's parliament is dominated by Sisi supporters and voted 531 to 22 in favour of the constitutional amendments.

They say changes are needed to provide more time to complete major development projects and economic reforms.

The referendum is supposed to take place before 5 May, the start of Ramadan, but a date has not been confirmed.

Fourteen amendments were proposed - ranging from judicial reforms to the creation of a vice president post.

Sisi will be able to appoint the heads of key courts including the Supreme Constitutional Court and the public prosecutor. Amnesty International said this will undermine judicial independence.

One article changes the duties of the military to protect "the constitution and democracy and the fundamental makeup of the country and its civil nature".

Critics fear this will give the military more influence in politics in Egypt.