Egypt's Sisi rules out extending presidential term

Sisi says elections will take place as scheduled in 2018.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi listens to French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire during a meeting with French business heads at the Economy Ministry in Paris on October 25, 2017. AFP PHOTO | ERIC PIERMONT 

IN SUMMARY

  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ruled out a constitutional amendment to extend his term, saying an election would be held next year and he will not run again in 2022.
  • Sisi is a former army chief who overthrew his Islamist predecessor in 2013 and won an election a year later.
  • The president is popular among many Egyptians who say the country needs a firm hand following years up tumult that battered the economy.

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Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ruled out a constitutional amendment to extend his term, saying an election would be held next year and he will not run again in 2022, in an interview with CNBC Monday.

Sisi is a former army chief who overthrew his Islamist predecessor in 2013 and won an election a year later.

Some of his supporters including a member of parliament want to allow Sisi to stay longer in office by extending the time between elections and removing the two four-year-term limit.

But Sisi said elections will take place as scheduled in March or April 2018 and he would not ask for a constitutional amendment.

Sisi did not say he would run again but the former field marshal is expected to stand and win in another landslide in the absence of any serious opposition.

"I'm with preserving two four year terms and not to change it," he told the American broadcaster.

"I'm not for any amendments to be made to the constitution in this period," he added.

Sisi won the 2014 election with about 97 per cent of the vote. His only opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, received less votes than spoiled ballots.

The president is popular among many Egyptians who say the country needs a firm hand following years up tumult that battered the economy.

But he has faced mounting criticism over a crackdown on Islamist and secular opponents and what rights groups say are increasingly repressive measures to stifle dissent.

So far only one opponent, lawyer and dissident Khaled Ali, has announced his candidacy for the 2018 election.

Ali, who challenged an unpopular government deal to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, had run in the 2012 election that brought Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to power.

He received less than one per cent of the vote then.

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