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Egyptians vote for second day on constitutional changes

A man has his finger stained with ink during the second day of the referendum on draft constitutional amendments, at a polling station in Cairo, Egypt April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptians voted on Sunday for a second day on whether to back constitutional amendments that could see President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stay in power until 2030.

The three-day referendum was called last week, a day after Egypt’s 596-member parliament endorsed the draft amendments by 531 to 22.

If approved, the amendments would extend Sisi’s current term to six years from four and allow him to run again for a third six-year term in 2024.

They would also grant the president control over appointing head judges and the public prosecutor from a pool of candidates, and give Egypt’s powerful military the role of protecting “the constitution and democracy”.

Sisi’s supporters say he has stabilized Egypt since becoming president in 2014, but needs more time to pursue development projects. Critics say the changes are anti-democratic and designed to tighten his grip on power.

Some 61 million of Egypt’s nearly 100 million population are eligible to vote. The result is expected within five days of the final day of voting.

Reporting by Cairo bureau; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Mark Potter

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