update 1-opponents of egypt\'s constitutional reforms call for \'no\' vote

by:CAI YI JIE     2019-09-10
* Referendum that is expected to approve constitutional changes * the amendment will also strengthen the role of military observers * observe voting to assess support for Sisi (
Increase appeals to protesters)
Cairo, April 22 (Reuters)-
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-
Sisi had been in power until 2030, urging people to vote \"no\" on Monday, the third and final day of a referendum on the proposal.
The amendment will also strengthen the role of the military and expand the president\'s power in judicial appointments.
Last week parliament passed a constitutional amendment.
While these amendments are expected to be passed in a referendum, observers say turnout will be a test of the popularity of the Sisi, which has been subject to austerity measures since 2016He was re-
Was elected last year with 97% of the vote.
Sisi supporters say he has stabilized Egypt and needs more time to reform and develop the economy.
Critics fear that changing the constitution will narrow the remaining space for political competition and debate and pave the way for long-term political competition and debate --man rule. Ahmed al-
Tantawi, one of the few opposition MPs, said the referendum was held in the context of intimidation and \"buying votes.
\"The election commission said Monday afternoon that it has not received any formal complaints so far about any violations.
Tantawi said: \"We can say that the vote for the first two days was under the slogan of \'Tickets and cardboard floor display box\',\" referring to reports that in order to vote, grocery boxes were distributed to people.
\"But on the third day of voting for Egyptians, especially young people, there is a chance to get things back to their natural tracks,\" he said . \".
Activists posted photos on social media, which appear to show people handing out white cartons full of groceries to them after voting.
A Reuters reporter saw that some voters received grocery vouchers after leaving the polling station in downtown Cairo, and then used them at a nearby charity in exchange for cooking oil, pasta, sugar
It was not possible to immediately verify who was the person who distributed the food.
When asked about these boxes, Mahmoud El-
Sherif, spokesman for Egypt\'s election commission, said any violations were being monitored.
However, he added: \"The Commission has not received such notices or complaints so far.
\"The commission says it has strict measures to ensure fair and free voting, to post judges at each polling station and to use special ink to prevent multiple votes.
Critics of the Sisi say that no real debate on the amendment is possible due to a crackdown on the opposition, which activists see as the toughest crackdown in decades.
The speaker of the Egyptian Parliament said that during the parliamentary consultation, civil society and opposition delegates had the opportunity to freely express their opinions.
Egypt\'s human rights group appealed on Monday in the case of an activist, Ahmed Badawi, who was allegedly arrested after being photographed holding a handwritten sign and saying \"no\" to the constitutional amendment.
Egyptian officials could not be reached for comment immediately.
If approved, the amendment would extend the current term of office of Sisi from four years to six years and allow him to participate again in the third six --
Semester 2024.
They will also give the president control over the appointment of chief judges and prosecutors from among the candidates, and give Egypt\'s strong army the role of protecting \"Constitution and democracy.
Banners on the streets of Cairo encouraging people to vote, some of them supporting the \"yes\" vote.
The founder of the April 6 movement, Ahmed mahder, is one of the youth groups behind the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hu hosni Mubarak, saying Egyptians still have the opportunity to voice their voices.
\"Try to change the results, even if it\'s a small percentage,\" he wrote in a message posted on social media . \".
\"Tell your relatives, friends and acquaintances to go down and say no \'.
\"About 61 million of Egypt\'s nearly 100 million people are eligible to vote.
Results are expected in five days. (
Cairo Bureau report by Sami abou Di, edited by Aidan Lewis and Edmund Blair)
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