File- Caption: Helmy al-Sherif, Vice-president and the Speaker of the National Election Authority (NEA)- Egypt Today/Sami Wahib
CAIRO – 15 April 2019: Egypt’s National Election Authority (NEA) denied reports on social media claiming that a public referendum on the proposed constitutional amendments, which allow President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to remain in power until 2030, will be held next week.
NEA Vice-President Helmy al-Sherif said that the schedule of the public referendum on the constitutional amendments has not yet been set, saying that the social media reports are “groundless”.
A post that went viral on social media said that the public referendum on the constitutional amendments will be held on April 20 for Egyptian expatriates worldwide, adding that 55 million eligible voters will vote domestically for three days starting from April 22.
In his remarks, Sherif said that the social media report also claimed that the number of eligible voters is 55 million, while the correct figure is 61 voters in 2019.
The NEA should hold a meeting immediately after approving the new amendments by the House of Representatives to draw up the referendum schedule, he added.
Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal announced on Sunday that if the Parliament’s general assembly approves the new amendments on Tuesday, a public referendum will be conducted to give the final word on the matter to the people.
Coincidently, the Parliament's legislative committee approved on Sunday the amendments, including a “transitional article” that allows President Sisi to remain in power until 2024; Sisi will also have the right to run for a new 6-year term.
“The current president has the right at the end of his current term to re-run as stated in the amended Article 140 of the constitution,” the transitional article stipulates.
Article 140 provides that the presidential term shall be extended for 6 years instead of 4 years and the president has the right to run for another term.
Although many political experts and politicians said that the new amendments are essential for Egypt’s current development program, many critic voices expressed objection as such the amendments contradict with the freedom principles.