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The Latest: Egypt's Parliament extends president term limits

Members of Egypt's Parliament meet to deliberate constitutional amendments that could allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in office till 2034, in Cairo Egypt, Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019. Wednesday's session will lead to a vote later in the evening or on Thursday, after which the text of the amendments would be finalized by a special committee for a final decision within two months. El-Sissi's current second term expires in 2022. (AP Photo)

CAIRO (AP) — The Latest on developments in Egypt (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Egypt's Parliament has overwhelmingly approved constitutional changes to remove term limits for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, allowing him to stay on power possibly until 2034.

The changes are part of a package of amendments that will be further examined before final approval in the chamber and a national referendum.

On Thursday, 485 lawmakers in the 596-seat body backed the amendments.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Al said they would now be discussed by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee for 60 days before being put to a referendum.

The national referendum will likely take place before early May, the start of the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan.

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1:15 p.m.

Egypt's Parliament has begun voting over constitutional amendments to allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in power, possibly until 2034, and further enshrine a role for the military in state affairs.

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The voting was announced on state media on Thursday, after three rounds of discussions among lawmakers that started the previous day, although the 596-seat chamber is packed with el-Sissi loyalists.

The amendments are almost certain to pass, allowing el-Sissi 12 more years after his second term expires in 2022.

Once passed, amendments must be finalized by a special legislative committee for a final decision within two months, followed by a nationwide referendum, likely before early May.

Critics of the move argue Egypt is slipping back into authoritarianism, eight years after a pro-democracy uprising ended autocrat Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule.

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