How Egypt’s President Tightened His Grip

CAIRO, Aug 1 (Reuters) – This spring, as Egypt’s parliament debated handing President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi higher power and allowing him to govern until 2030, speaker Ali Abdelaal declared the proposals were the will of the nation’s legislature. The reality was different, said five people with knowledge of the matter.

The proposals that surfaced – extending Sisi’s presidency and his power over the courts and parliament – were put before parliament by pro-Sisi lawmakers in February. The draft amendments raced through a chamber dominated by Sisi loyalists, and were approved in a referendum in April, in which critical voices were generally silent.

Sisi’s opponents say the revisions to the constitution extinguish all hope for a civil, democratic and modern state. Not because the decades-long rule of Hosni Mubarak ended in 2011, they say, has a lot power been concentrated in the hands of 1 man. Hamdeen Sabahi, a former presidential applicant and a senior member of the Civil Democratic Movement, an alliance of opposition groups. The Egyptian authorities did not react to detailed questions from Reuters because of this article. Sisi has said that Egypt is besieged by terrorism previously. Supporters of the constitutional changes argue that the president still has work to do in that fight and in reforming Egypt’s economy, and so he needs additional time and extended powers.

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Sisi, a previous general, became president in 2014 following the armed service toppled Mubarak’s democratically elected successor, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, pursuing weeks of road protests. Since that time, Sisi has steadily tightened his hold. A crackdown on opponents has drawn criticism from human rights groups and Western governments. A Reuters investigation in April discovered that Egyptian police experienced shot dead a huge selection of suspected Islamist militants in what specialists said were gun fights, but bereaved family members said were extrajudicial killings. A Reuters analysis in July showed a threefold rise in the amount of death penalties completed since Sisi emerged to power.

A person familiar with the parliamentary process said lawmakers acquired no hand in sketching up the draft amendments that were put before the house. Some lawmakers who opposed the changes – they were approved by 531 votes to 22 – said they were at the mercy of smears and intimidation. Sisi’s kid Mahmoud rarely shows up in public areas. A graduate of Egypt’s armed forces academy, he keeps a senior position in the overall Intelligence Service, regarding to two resources with close links to Egyptian cleverness.

A Western diplomat said Mahmoud manages nationwide security, one of three sons of the leader known to keep recognized positions. Abbas Kamal, nicknamed ‘the president’s shadow’ because of his closeness to Sisi, became mind of the overall Intelligence Service in June 2018, having previously served as Sisi’s main of personnel. Mohamed Abou Shoka, a former key prosecutor, acted as spokesman and legal adviser for Sisi’s 2018 presidential advertising campaign.

The reshaped constitution that they helped to create extended presidential and military powers. It made the president responsible for appointing chief judges and the public prosecutor, and selecting one-third of deputies in a new parliamentary chamber, the Council of Senators. It tasked the armed service with safeguarding “the constitution and democracy and the fundamental makeup of the country and its own civil character,” offering it latitude to step in if it deems Egypt is certainly going in the incorrect direction.

The president’s term was risen to six years from four. A special clause said that Sisi’s current period in office, which began in 2018, will run to 2024 and he is allowed to stand for election a third time, overriding analysis on more than two consecutive terms. These last revisions were complicated with a legal necessity that any change to the presidential term must bring with it better freedoms.