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Presidency is not interfering with Constitutional amendments, says Egyptian Speaker

PARIS, France­­–– The speaker of Egyptian parliament says the country’s presidency does not interfere in any way in the proposed constitutional amendments, official MENA news agency quoted the parliament speaker as saying on Wednesday.

“The House of Representatives has received proposals for constitutional amendments from different sects of the Egyptian people, and it assumed the responsibility of putting these amendments in their sound legislative frame,” Egypt’s Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said.

Abdel-Aal made the remarks during a session of the ongoing community dialogue inside the parliament over the anticipated amendments.

Proposed in early February by 115 lawmakers from “Support Egypt” pro-government parliamentary bloc and approved later by 485 out of the parliament’s 596 members, the amendments in discussion include changing the presidential term from four to six years and possibly appointing one or more vice presidents.

They also allow current President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to join the next presidential election after his second term ends in 2022.

The parliament said on Sunday that it will finish all procedures related to the amendments by mid-April before a public referendum for final ratification.

The proposed amendments also seek to establish a senate as a second chamber of the parliament next to the House of Representatives and deepen the role of the army as the protector of vital institutions and public facilities and the defender of the country’s democracy and civil state.

Article 140 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution limits presidency to two consecutive four-year terms, while Article 226 allows the head of state or one-fifth of the parliament members to request amendment of one or more articles of the constitution.

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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