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Arabic press review: Sisi set to hold power until 2034... at least

Constitutional amendments set to pass in Egypt, while a Lebanese athlete wins plaudits for refusing to compete with an Israeli
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi inspects tomatoes (Reuters)

Egypt electoral law: Sisi till 2034

Sources at the Egyptian parliament told Mada Masr news site on condition of anonymity that the proposed amendment to the constitution will allow President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to remain in power until 2034.

The sources said that the proposed constitutional amendments will allow Sisi to run for president again after the end of his second term in 2022, and that "the amendments will keep him as president until 2034".

They added that the amendments will also include allowing two or more vice presidents, as well as adding a new text in the constitution, which states that "the armed forces are entrusted with the protection of the civil state".

The proposed amendments also include renaming the shura council as the senate (the second chamber of parliament), as well as granting 25 percent of parliamentary seats to women during elections, with suitable representation for youth and Coptic Christians, according to the website.

Mada Masr reported that amendments brought before the parliament include one abolishing the National Press Authority in preparation for the resuscitation of the information ministry, which will be directly controlled by the government.

Lebanese athlete withdraws from championship because of Israel

Lebanese athlete Izzeddin Faraj has quit the International Taekwondo Championship held in Cyprus because an Israeli was in the same group, according to the electronic newspaper Arabi21.

According to Arabi21, he decided on Friday to withdraw from the championship as soon as he learnt that he will compete against an Israeli athlete.

Social media websites users circulated the pictures of the Lebanese athlete and described his attitude as "very honourable”, working in support of the Palestinian cause because he rejected normalisation with Israel.

UN brokering Egypt-Hamas Gaza deal

UN mediator Nickolay Mladenov and Egyptian mediator Ahmed Abdel Khalek presented an offer to Hamas that would keep the Rafah border crossing open and pay the salaries of the movement’s employees in the Gaza Strip, in exchange for ensuring security on the frontier with Israel, according to the London-based newspaper al-Arabi al-Jadeed.

This offer was introduced during a meeting between UN and Egyptian delegates and the leadership of Hamas in Gaza, including the head of the political bureau Ismail Haniyeh, last Friday.

During the meeting, Egypt reportedly pledged to keep the Rafah crossing open despite its previous refusal to open the crossing until the Palestinian Authority is present. Currently the Gaza side of the crossing is controlled by Hamas.

Egypt also said it would allow the entry of materials that Gaza has been prevented from obtaining through the commercial crossing for two years, the sources said.

The international mediator, Mladenov, reportedly pledged to help remove the Israeli conditions related to the Qatari grant to pay the salaries of Hamas-hired employees, which the movement has described as blackmail.

Jordan offers Tunisians free visas

Jordan’s Interior Minister Samir Mubaidin has decided to exempt Tunisian nationals from all kinds of visa fees, according to the Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad.

The decision will come into effect on Monday, following the move’s reciprocity, said the newspaper.

The Jordanian decision came one day after the visit of King Abdullah II to Tunisia, which was part of a tour that included the Turkish capital Ankara where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Many Jordanian observers considered this to be a very important move due to the possible rapprochement between Jordan and countries in the region other than its traditional Gulf allies.