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ICC Note:

President al-Sisi will be the incumbent in the 2018 Egyptian Presidential election. Before the election occurs, some lawmakers are collecting signatures to amend the constitution to extend the current four-year presidential term to six-years. This amendment attempt is being met with critics who accuse the signers of political immaturity. In the midst of this debate, Christians are continually being attacked and need immediate attention. It is important for lawmakers to also consider how to protect the most vulnerable population in their country.

08/18/2017 Egypt (Al Monitor) – Calls by some Egyptian lawmakers to amend Article 140 of the Egyptian Constitution to extend the current four-year presidential term by two years have sparked controversy in Egypt, with some members of the pro-government parliamentary majority bloc, “In Support of Egypt,” throwing their weight behind the idea, while critics have lambasted it as a “sign of political immaturity.”

On Aug. 6, Ismail Nasreddine, a hitherto little-known parliament member representing Helwan — a district south of Cairo — began collecting signatures for the motion to lift restrictions on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s re-election. He argued that “four years is not long enough to allow President Sisi to implement the projects he started.”

Speaking to Al-Monitor, Nasreddine echoed earlier comments by parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Al that the 2014 Constitution was written at a time of “instability” — a reference to the protests by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi that took place in the wake of his removal from office in July 2013 — but that “circumstances have changed since, necessitating amendments to the charter.”

“The constitution is man-made; it is not the word of God,” he said, adding that “people make mistakes and those mistakes ought to be corrected.”

Nassredine also wants several other articles amended, including the provision giving parliament the final word on Cabinet appointments and dismissals. “What if the president decides to dismiss a Cabinet minister but parliament does not support his decision? This would put the president on a collision course with the parliament. The president should be able to make such decisions without having to seek approval from the assembly,” he said.

But not everyone agrees. In comments posted on his Twitter account Aug. 12, veteran politician and former presidential candidate Amr Moussa — who chaired the panel of experts drafting the 2014 Constitution — expressed his objection to the Nasreddine’s plan.

“Renewed talk about amending the constitution in a presidential year raises questions about the maturity of the political thought behind it,” he wrote, adding that “the parliament should focus instead on implementing the charter.”

 

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