CAIRO — Nearly 90 percent of referendum voters approved constitutional amendments that could keep the president in power until 2030.
Egyptian voters have overwhelmingly backed constitutional changes allowing President Abdel Fattah el–Sisi to remain in power until 2030, the election commission has said.
“These [changes] are effective from now as your constitution,” the commission’s chairman, Lasheen Ibrahim, told a press conference on Tuesday in the capital, Cairo, broadcast on state TV.
He said that more than 23.4 million voters had endorsed the changes in a nationwide referendum.
Turnout during the three-day vote was 44.33 percent and 88.83 percent of those taking part voted “yes” for the amendments, with 11.17 percent voting “no”, he added.
The amendments, which were approved by Egypt’s parliament last week, will extend Sisi’s current term to six years from four and allow him to run again for another six-year term in 2024.
They will also bolster the role of the military and expand the president’s power over judicial appointments.
The nationwide referendum took place over three days, from Saturday through Monday, to maximize turnout.
Almost 27 million votes were cast out of an eligible base of 61 million voters.
In his first public comments on the amendments, Sisi thanked the Egyptian people for voting.
“Wonderful scene done by Egyptians who took part in the referendum … will be written down in our nation’s historical record,” he tweeted minutes after the results were announced.
Pro-government media, business people and legislators had pushed for a “yes” vote and a high turnout, offering incentives, while authorities threatened to fine anyone boycotting the three-day vote.
Opposition parties had urged a “no” vote, but they have little sway in parliament, which is packed with Sisi supporters and overwhelmingly approved the amendments.
The local media is also dominated by pro-government commentators, and the authorities have blocked hundreds of websites, including many operated by independent media and rights groups.