World, Middle East

Egyptians abroad start voting in charter referendum

Proposed changes in constitution would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030

Hussein Elkabany   | 19.04.2019
Egyptians abroad start voting in charter referendum

Egypt

CAIRO

Egyptian expatriates on Friday started voting in a referendum on proposed constitutional changes that would extend incumbent president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's term until 2030.

The voting process began first in New Zealand as the Egyptian Embassy in Wellington opened its doors for voters, state-run MENA News Agency reported, citing a Foreign Ministry statement.

Some140 poll centers at embassies and consulates in 124 countries are conducting the voting process from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time, Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, without elaborating on the number of Egyptians eligible to vote abroad.

However, voting will not be conducted in Yemen, Libya, Syria and Somalia due to security concerns, according to Egypt’s National Elections Authority.

Local voting is slated for Saturday in which 61.34 million citizens across the country are eligible to cast their votes.

Earlier this week, Egypt’s parliament approved a proposed constitutional amendment extending the duration of presidential terms from four to six years.

It will also allow al-Sisi to eventually run for a third term in office.

Egypt’s current constitution, ratified in 2014, allows the president to hold office for a maximum of two four-year terms.

The constitutional change, however, means al-Sisi’s second term in office -- which he secured in elections last year -- will end in 2024, after which he will be allowed to run for a third six-year term ending in 2030.

* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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