By Viola Fahmy
CAIRO (AA) - Egypt has stepped up security across the country in advance of a Saturday referendum on proposed constitutional changes that would, if approved, allow President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to remain in office until 2030.
“The armed forces are currently taking steps to secure the upcoming referendum,” Egypt's military said in a statement.
“In coordination with the Interior Ministry, army forces will secure vital state institutions during the three-day poll,” it added.
According to the same statement, surveillance aircraft will be deployed countrywide “to respond to any potential acts that might obstruct the voting process”.
On Tuesday, Egypt’s parliament approved a proposed constitutional amendment extending the duration of presidential terms from four to six years.
If approved, the amendment would also allow al-Sisi to run for a third presidential term in 2024.
Egypt’s current constitution, ratified in 2014, allows the president to hold office for a maximum of two four-year terms.
The constitutional change, however, would mean that al-Sisi’s second term in office -- which he secured in elections last year -- would end in 2024, after which he would be able to run for a third six-year term.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat