Egyptian voters have overwhelmingly backed constitutional changes that could see President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rule extended to 2030, the electoral board said Tuesday.
National Election Authority head Lashin Ibrahim told a Cairo press conference that 88.83 percent voted “yes” in a referendum on the amendments, with 11.17 percent voting “no”. The three-day vote took place “in a democratic climate powered by freedom,” he added.
Sisi (pictured) took to Twitter shortly after the results were announced to thank his fellow citizens “who dazzled the world with their awareness of the challenges facing” Egypt.
Around 27 million votes were cast in the Arab world’s most populous country, with a turnout rate of 44.33 percent.
Rights groups have criticised the conditions surrounding the rushed vote, including the suppression of those opposing the sweeping changes that consolidate Sisi’s power.
Egypt’s parliament, stacked with Sisi loyalists, voted in favour of the amendments last week, giving voters just days to digest the changes to 20 articles.
Sisi has argued he needs longer to complete the job of restoring security and stability after the turmoil that followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring of 2011. -AFP