President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has reaffirmed his support for a two-term limit for the office of the president. He did not, however, confirm if he intended to run for a second term in 2018.
In an interview with a US broadcaster, Egypt's president rejected calls by several pro-government lawmakers and media figures to amend the constitution in favor of allowing a president to serve more than two terms. It was the first time that President el-Sissi had publically spoken about the issue.
"It doesn't suit me as a president to stay one more day against the will of the Egyptians," el-Sissi told CNBC over the weekend. "We will not interfere with (the constitution)... I am with preserving two four-year terms."
Elected in 2014, el-Sissi must now decide whether to run for a second term. He has not yet announced his intention to run in 2018.
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El-Sissi, a former army chief, was elected to office 2014, a year after he led the military's ouster of an elected but unpopular Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
Dismal human rights record
Rights groups have repeatedly criticized el-Sissi's government for its record of abuses and repression.
Under his rule, Egypt has seen a large-scale crackdown on dissent, the jailings of several human rights activists and journalists. Other dissidents have been slapped with travel bans over allegations of harming national security.
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In a report in September, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced "widespread and systematic" use of torture by Egyptian security forces, a charge that el-Sissi has denied.
The country's crackdown on homosexual men has been condemned by various organizations, including the United Nations.
ap/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP)