The Egyptian parliament discussed on Sunday extending the presidential term from four to six years and introducing the post of vice president, based on a petition submitted by one fifth of the total 596 lawmakers, official MENA news agency reported.
A general committee at the House of Representatives, chaired by Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal, outlined the principles to govern the upcoming constitutional amendments in response to an official request submitted earlier in the day by lawmakers of “Support Egypt” pro-government parliamentary bloc. Among the principles is “fixing the severe deficiency of limiting the presidential term and making it six years instead of four years” and “initiating the post of vice president to assist the president in his tasks.” The principles guiding the coming amendments set the Egyptian army as “the defender and guarantor” of the country’s democracy and civil state.
The committee also considers the establishment of a senate as a second chamber of the parliament next to the House of Representatives. Earlier on Sunday, Abdel-Hadi al-Qasabi, head of “Support Egypt” parliamentary coalition, officially submitted a request for constitutional amendments signed by one fifth of lawmakers to the parliament speaker. “The amendments are proposed in the framework of preserving and maintaining the gains of the 2014 constitution through more guarantees for increasing freedoms,” Qasabi said a day before submitting the motion. Article 140 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution limits presidency to two consecutive terms, four years each.
The petitioners believe that eight years are not enough for the president to deal with the country’s economic and security challenges. Article 226 of the constitution states that “the amendment of one or more articles of the Constitution may be requested by the President of the Republic or one fifth of the members of the House of Representatives.” “The request shall specify the articles to be amended and the reasons for such amendment,” it continues.