Egyptians vote on final day of 'unfree' referendum to extend Sisi's rule

Egyptians vote on final day of 'unfree' referendum to extend Sisi's rule Egyptians vote on final day of 'unfree' referendum to extend Sisi's rule

Egyptians have taken to the polls for a third and final day of voting on constitutional changes that would extend President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi's rule until 2030.

The final day of voting started on Monday, with reports saying that people were being encouraged actively to cast ballot.

Pro-Sisi volunteers were seen by AFP correspondents to hand out boxed meals at several polling stations in the capital Cairo to people after they had voted. The parcels reportedly contained staples such as oil, rice, pasta and sugar.

Some voters said their employers had encouraged them to vote for the constitutional amendments and transported them to polling stations on company buses.

Human Rights Watch has criticized the “grossly unfree, rights-abusive environment” of the vote, where anti-Sisi campaigns had been effectively silenced.

The constitutional changes would extend Sisi's term in office until 2024 and would also give him the right to stand for another six-year term.

Other amendments included boosting Sisi's control over the judiciary, with powers to appoint the prosecutor general and all high-level judges.

Amnesty International said the proposed amendments would "facilitate the authorities' crackdown on freedom of expression, association and assembly, erode people's rights, and exacerbate the human rights crisis in the country."

The final results of the referendum will be announced on April 27.

Sisi came to power in June 2014, one year after he led the military to oust the first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi in a coup.

He was re-elected in March 2018 with more than 97 percent of the vote, after standing virtually unopposed.

Human rights groups have regularly criticized Sisi's government for cracking down on opposition activists and supporters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has been banned in the country.

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