Today, an Egyptian court will begin proceedings on a case to roll back the two-term limit on the presidency.
The limit was originally set in the 2014 constitutional reforms after President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi and won elections in a landslide. Since then, Egypt has slipped steadily back into authoritarianism—the government has silenced opposition groups and taken a stranglehold on the media.
In March, el-Sisi won re-election with 97% of the vote, but there was no real opposition and voter turnout was around 40%, raising further concerns regarding political freedoms.
The bid to remove term limits appears to have been brought legitimately, but state media have given the case extensive coverage, likely reflecting the president’s support. If the court approves the challenge, the debate will move to the parliament, which is dominated by el-Sisi’s supporters.
The final decision would come via a national referendum. Should the motion pass, legitimately or otherwise, the president would be all but assured a third term in office. However, opposition to his autocratic policies has been on the rise, making the referendum more difficult to pass, despite el-Sisi’s loyal base. In any event, political turbulence, and potentially civil unrest, should be expected as Egypt inches toward another dictatorial regime.
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Josh analyses the economic impacts of geopolitical developments in emerging economies. He contributes regularly to The Daily Brief.