Egypt's parliament election laws to be amended this week

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 12 May 2014

Preliminary amendments of two laws governing Egypt's parliamentary elections will be finalised on Tuesday, says the committee drafting the changes

the parliamentary run-off elections
A woman casts her vote during the first day of the parliamentary run-off elections in Cairo December 5, 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

Mahmoud Fawzy, spokesman of a technical committee in charge of amending Egypt's election laws, said the committee will finish drafting amendments for two laws on Tuesday – the 1956 law on the exercise of political rights and the 1972 law regulating the performance of the House of Representatives, Egypt's lower house parliament.

Fawzy, in a press conference with parliamentary reporters on Sunday evening, said the eight-member committee, appointed by Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour on 14 April, will hold intensive discussions on the preliminary drafts of the above two laws on Tuesday.

"The discussions will review what electoral system will be adopted, including how many seats will be contested via the party list system and how many seats will be reserved for independents," said Fawzy.

Fawzy added that "discussions will also review what criterion should be adopted by the president in appointing parliament members, in a way that goes in line with the new constitution."

This criterion, explained Fawzy, should ensure that minority groups and public figures with outstanding performances are fairly represented in the new parliament.

Fawzy surprised many by announcing that the eight-member committee, headed by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Amin El-Mahdi, has agreed that the number of the coming parliament's elected seats will be increased to 600 – plus 30 to be appointed by the president, in accordance with article 102 of the new constitution.

Article 102 of the constitution states that the number of Egypt's lower house of parliament – the House of Representatives – must not be less than 450 seats, plus another number to be named by the president, not exceeding 5 percent of the total number of elected deputies, Fawzy said.

"Article 102 is clear in that the number of parliamentary deputies can be more than 450 but no less than this figure," said Fazwy.

Fawzy also indicated that "the committee decided that the number of deputies be increased to 600 to ensure that all of Egypt's electoral districts are fairly represented in the new parliament."

The coming parliamentary elections will apply a mix of individual candidacy and party lists, Fawzy said.

"But we have not so far decided what number of seats will be elected via the party list system or what seats will be reserved for independents," he said. "All I can say is that there will be lists including only party-based candidates or only independents – or a mix of both."

Under ousted president Mohamed Morsi, most of the 506 seats in Egypt's lower house of parliament were dominated by Islamists – the majority of which belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood and ultraconservative Salafist groups.

Under the regime of Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in 2011's uprising, the number of parliamentary seats stood at 454, including 10 named by the president.

Ali Awad, president Mansour's legal and constitutional advisors, announced this week that the new election laws would be announced before 17 July.




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