Egypt's parliament votes to expand Sisi's powers

An Egyptian man carries a copy of a newspaper, bearing the portrait of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo on April 2, 2018.

(CNN)Egypt's Parliament has approved constitutional changes that will allow President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to tighten his grip on government and stay in power until 2030, as authorities block a growing online petition against the changes.

The 596-member Parliament, which is dominated by Sisi supporters, only needed a two-thirds majority to pass 14 amendments and several new articles on Tuesday.
The changes to the 2014 constitution are expected to be put to a public referendum next week before taking effect, according to state-run Ahram online, citing Parliament Speaker Ali Abdelal. The official announcement will be made by the National Election Authority.
    The constitutional amendments will extend a presidential term from four to six years. They would add two years to Sisi's current term and allow him to seek re-election in 2024.
      "I have repeatedly said ... that the President did not intervene in the amendments and did not request them," said Abdelal.
      The changes will give the military more power by stipulating its responsibility "to preserve the constitution and democracy, maintain the basic pillars of the state and its civilian nature."
      They also expand Sisi's power over the legislative branch by creating an upper house known as a senate, a third of whose members will be appointed by the president. The size of the lower house will be reduced, with at least 25% of them reserved for women. 
        The revised charter also gives the president new authority to appoint members of the judiciary.  
        Sisi, a former general, became president in 2014 after a coup the previous year. He was re-elected in 2018 with 97% of the vote.