President Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi has garnered support to amend the 2014 constitution and his supporters say the existing legal framework holds him back from making sweeping reforms.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi chairs an Arab foreign ministers meeting during an Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Sunday, March 29, 2015.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi chairs an Arab foreign ministers meeting during an Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt, Sunday, March 29, 2015. (AP Archive)

Egyptian court is to hold preliminary hearing next week, requesting the parliament to amend its 2014 constitution with an act to allow President Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi retain his power for a third consecutive term. 

Ayman Abdel-Hakim Ramadan, a lawyer supporting Sisi, earlier filed a court case for Egypt’s parliament, seeking an end of the two-term presidential limit. Ramadan told The Associated Press that a Cairo court will conduct the first hearing of the case on December 23.

Ramadan said his "love" and "admiration" for a leader who has done so much for Egypt motivated his filing. But the case could be the first step in a campaign to engineer a climate receptive to the idea of amending the constitution. It could also help gauge popular sentiment on the issue.

According to Jerusalem Post Hakim said “Article 140 is unfair to the great Egyptian people and eight years gives a president little time to deal with the economic and security challenges facing the country.“

The current constitution was rewritten after the 2011 revolution which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. 

Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi swore an oath on two occasions — once when he became president in June 2014, and again when he was reelected in June 2018 — affirming to respect the Egyptian constitution. 

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Mada Masr newspaper says meetings are held at the General Intelligence Service headquarters between intelligence officials and the president’s office to finalise the amendments and to fix the referendum date.
To mobilise support for the referendum, Sisi supporters are picking holes in the 2014 constitution, calling it a Muslim Brotherhood document.

 “Of course, we need to change the constitution because it has an Islamic Salafist streak,” Gehad Auda, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at Helwan University, was quoted as saying in the media. “This is the Constitution of the Muslim Brotherhood and we want a new civil constitution that gives the armed forces importance in national security considerations affecting the state.”

Parliament, packed by Sisi supporters, will have to vote on any constitutional amendments, which will also have to be ratified in a national referendum.

Egyptians overwhelmingly backed constitution at the 2014 referendum

Over 98% of voters on the first Egypt’s 2014 referendum were in favour of approving the constitution, with a  turnout of 38.6%, higher than the 33% who voted in a referendum during former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's tenure, but lower than the 41.9% who turned out in a similar poll following Egypt's 2011 uprising.

Since taking office, Sisi has overseen the largest crackdown on dissent in Egypt in living memory, jailing thousands of activists and rolling back freedoms won in a 2011 popular uprising.

He has also worked consistently to overhaul the economy, upgrade the country's infrastructure and build new cities — policies that won him lavish praise from Western backers but sparked steep price rises at home.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies