Sisi thanks Egyptians for their 'dazzling' participation in constitutional referendum
File photo of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi speaks during a news conference at the presidential palace in Cairo. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday praised the Egyptian people for “dazzling the world with their patriotism” by voting in a constitutional referendum this weekend, in comments hours after the results of the poll were announced.
Egypt's National Elections Authority said on Tuesday evening that 88.83 percent of voters had voted in favour of the package of constitutional amendments under consideration.
"I salute the great Egyptian people who dazzled the world with their patriotism and national awareness of the challenges facing our beloved country Egypt," El-Sisi wrote on his Facebook page.
"This wonderful scene was weaved by Egyptians, with their usual geniality, when they participated in the referendum on the constitutional amendments and exercised their political and constitutional rights,” the president added.
“Long live Egypt and long live the great people of Egypt," he concluded.
The head of the electoral authority, Lashin Ibrahim, said at a press conference that the turnout of both domestic and expatriate voters was 27,193,593, or 44.33 percent of 61,344,503 eligible voters.
Voters in Egypt went to the polls from Saturday to Monday; expatriates had from Friday to Sunday to vote at polling stations in Egyptian embassies and consulates.
The amendments include extending the length of presidential terms from four to six years.
They also extend El-Sisi’s current and second term, which was set to end in 2022, by two years, and allow him to run for another term in 2024.
In addition, the amendments allocate a quarter of the seats in parliament to women.
They also give the president new powers to appoint members of the judiciary, and would create a second chamber of parliament (the Senate), with one-third of its members to be appointed by the president, and re-introduce the post of vice president.
El-Sisi was first elected president in 2014 and was re-elected last year in a landslide victory wherein he secured 97 percent of the vote.