January 14, 2019

Contact: April Brady, Communications Coordinator,, 202-804-4747


(Washington, D.C.) – The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) issued the following statement regarding today’s vote by the Egyptian parliament to advance a slate of proposed constitutional amendments:

POMED is alarmed by proposed amendments to the 2014 constitution that the Egyptian parliament introduced on February 3 and that were approved in principle by the full assembly today. The proposed amendments, which would extend al-Sisi’s presidency, eliminate judicial independence, and enshrine the military’s guardianship of the political system, would codify President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s increasingly authoritarian practices, giving constitutional sanction to remake Egypt into a military-backed personalist dictatorship.

Since he came to power in 2014, al-Sisi has stated that he would not interfere with the constitution and that he would honor the constitutional limit of two four-year terms in office. In recent months, however, he has overseen a plan to extend his presidency and tighten his grip on power. Reportedly, one of his sons—who holds a top position within the intelligence services—has coordinated the plan to change the constitution. The rubber-stamp parliament, most of whose members were handpicked by the intelligence services, is hastily pushing through these amendments with no meaningful debate. Even muted criticism has has been met with smear campaigns conducted by the intelligence services.

After seizing power in a military coup in 2013, al-Sisi has presided over what POMED’s Deputy Director for Policy Andrew Miller has called “the most repressive government in modern Egyptian history.” Al-Sisi’s regime has carried out a brutal crackdown, using enforced disappearances, sham trials, torture, extrajudicial killings, and political detentions to crush dissent. The proposed constitutional amendments would eliminate the last theoretical restraints on al-Sisi’s power, erase the few remaining democratic gains of the 2011 revolution, and allow him to prolong dictatorial control over Egypt through at least 2034, when he will turn 80 years of age.

This is a critical moment and perhaps the final opportunity to stop the full institutionalization of Sisi’s dictatorship. We call upon the Trump administration and Congress to publicly and privately register opposition to these amendments before Egypt steps further down this very dangerous path.

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Photo: Egyptian Parliament official YouTube Channel