Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is likely to win constitutional changes allowing him to dramatically extend his tenure in power — just over a year after telling CNBC that he would never pursue such a thing.
Discussing the political developments while at the Milken Summit in Abu Dhabi Tuesday, Egyptian billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble that he expected the controversial move would be pushed through. Asked whether he believed it was the right or wrong step for Egypt, the country’s second-richest man simply replied, “We’ll see.”
Egyptian lawmakers are pushing ahead for a change to the country’s constitution that would enable Sisi to stay in power until 2034. Currently, the former armed forces chief is due to stand down after completing two four-year terms in 2022.
Just last week, a parliamentary committee in Cairo approved proposed constitutional amendments that would increase presidential terms from four to six years and essentially reset the clock, allowing Sisi two additional terms.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC in November 2017, Sisi said he was committed to the limits set out by the current constitution.
“I am with preserving two four-year terms and not to change it … I am not for any amendments to be made to the constitution in this period,” Sisi told CNBC’s Gamble. “The constitution grants the right of the parliament and the president to request amendments. I am talking about the four-year terms. We will not interfere with it.”