The Latest: Egypt begins vote on extending el-Sissi’s rule

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The Latest on Egypt’s vote on a referendum potentially extending President el-Sissi’s rule to 2030 (all times local):

9 a.m.

Egyptians have begun voting on constitutional amendments aimed at keeping President el-Sissi in power until 2030. The referendum comes amid an unprecedented crackdown on dissent in recent years. El-Sissi’s government has arrested thousands of people, most of them Islamists but also prominent secular activists, and rolled back freedoms won in a 2011 pro-democracy uprising. The proposed changes were blasted by critics as another major step toward authoritarian rule.

8:35 a.m.

Egyptians are being asked to vote on constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in power until 2030. The three-day voting period for the nationwide referendum starts at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) Saturday on proposed changes that would also further enshrine the military’s role in politics. Parliament, packed with el-Sissi supporters,

overwhelmingly approved the amendments on Tuesday. Opposition parties have called on voters to reject the changes, seen by critics as a step backward to authoritarianism eight years after a pro-democracy uprising. The vote comes amid an unprecedented crackdown by authorities on dissent since the military ouster of an elected but divisive president in 2013. El-Sissi came to power in 2014 and was re-elected for a second four-year term last year.

Source: Associated Press

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