Egyptians have begun voting in a referendum on proposed constitutional amendments that might see President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi‘s rule prolonged to 2030.
State tv on Saturday confirmed photographs of Sisi casting his poll at a polling station within the japanese suburb of Heliopolis.
Egypt‘s parliament had on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favour of the modifications, which embrace permitting the general-turned-president to increase his present time period by two years and stand for an additional six-year-mandate, probably extending his rule till 2030.
The 596-member meeting is full of Sisi supporters, with 531 of the 554 legislators who attended the vote opting in favour of the constitutional modifications.
The poll will run between April 20-22 and also will see voters resolve on whether or not an higher parliamentary chamber ought to be created.
Sisi’s authorities has been repeatedly criticised by human rights organisations for alleged repression of political opponents.
‘Contempt for rights’
In a press release on Tuesday, Amnesty Worldwide mentioned the proposed constitutional amendments would “facilitate the authorities’ crackdown on freedom of expression, affiliation and meeting, erode individuals’s rights, and exacerbate the human rights disaster within the nation”.
“The choice to place these amendments to the structure to a public referendum, amid the worst crackdown on freedom of expression and extreme restrictions on political events and unbiased media, demonstrates the Egyptian authorities’s contempt for the rights of all individuals in Egypt,” mentioned Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty’s deputy Center East and North Africa director.
Sisi, 64, was re-elected in March 2018 with greater than 97 % of the vote, in a poll boycotted by giant swaths of the nation’s political opposition after a number of potential candidates dropped out citing intimidation or had been arrested.
Just one different candidate, himself an ardent Sisi supporter, opposed the incumbent. Mousa Mostafa Mousa had endorsed Sisi for a second time period and even organised occasions to assist nominate the previous army commander up till per week earlier than the nomination deadline.
Eliminating the opposition
The election fee mentioned final yr’s vote was held in line with the “highest worldwide requirements of integrity and transparency”, however rights teams together with worldwide NGO Human Rights Watch criticised the poll as neither “free nor honest”.
“I feel it’s a must to take votes which can be held in army dictatorships with a number of grains of salt,” mentioned Mohamad Elmasry, affiliate professor on the Doha Institute for Gradute Research.
“Egypt has eradicated the opposition; it is an setting of repression and worry. Individuals are terrified to vote and specific dissent.”
“Within the lead as much as this vote, greater than 120 individuals have been arrested for campaigning for the ‘no vote’. We now have to recollect there aren’t any unbiased displays so the federal government is free to rig the outcomes.
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