The Egyptian parliament endorsed a draft bill with constitutional amendments on Thursday. The draft bill aims to increase the tenure of the Egyptian President and incite amendments in the institutional makeup of the judiciary. The Egyptian Parliament Spokesperson Ali Abdelaal revealed that 485 out of 596 members of the parliament voted in favour of the draft law, thus easily securing the two-thirds majority requirement to institutionalise the proposed amendments.
The draft law was presented before the Egyptian Parliament on Wednesday, after months of preparation work by a parliamentary committee to satisfy the requirements of 2014 referendum for constitutional amendments. The draft law envisages an extension of the Presidential tenure for a six-year period and a transitional clause which permits a particular president to serve for a second consecutive term. Provided these constitutional amendments are ratified in a future parliamentary discussion, the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi may be permitted to remain in his position until 2034. The draft law also changes the vetting process of Egypt’s judiciary. Under the proposed amendment, a second judicial body, the Council of Chambers, is to be institutionalised. The Egyptian President would be able to appoint a third of the new chamber’s judicial representatives. The draft law also underscores the contribution of the Egyptian Army to the protection of the constitution. This is a particular point of contention especially for critics of the President’s rule, who are afraid that the Egyptian democracy is progressively surrendered at the hands of the army.
A final ratification vote on the proposed amendments will take place in the Parliament in due course and before a national referendum takes place over the proposed constitutional amendments. The referendum is expected to be held by mid-2019.