190423 Egypt
Members of Egypt's National Elections Commission (NEC) pose for a picture during a press conference in the Egyptian capital Cairo on April 23, 2019 to announce the result of the referendum extending the rule of President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Constitutional changes, which could allow Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi to rule until 2030, were approved by 88.8 per cent of the voters who cast their ballots in a referendum held this week, an official electoral commission announced Tuesday night.

Some 44.3 per cent or 27.1 million out of Egypt's eligible voters of 61.3 million took part in the ballot on amendments to the 2014 constitution, head of the commission Lasheen Ebrahim said at a press conference in Cairo.

He added that 88.8 per cent of the valid votes came in favour of the changes that take immediate effect after they were approved.

“The balloting and vote counting were conducted under full judicial supervision,” Ebrahim, a senior judge, said.

Egyptians voted over three days this week beginning Saturday on the constitutional changes that extend the presidential term to six years instead of four, allowing Al Sissi’s current term to end in 2024 instead of 2022.

A provisional article makes it possible for Al Sissi to run for another six-year term.

The 2014 charter has a two-term cap for the head of the state.

The amendments also revive an upper house of parliament abolished in the 2014, and reserve 25 per cent of the legislature’s seats to women.

Al-Sissi took power in 2014, a year after he led the army’s toppling of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi following enormous protests against his divisive rule.

Last year, Al Sissi was overwhelmingly re-elected for a second term in office. He has been credited with restoring stability in the country and rejuvenating the economy hammered by the unrest following the 2011 uprising and post-Mursi militant attacks.