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Egypt constitution-drafting body mulls retaining upper house

Legal subcommittee recommends keeping Shura Council (parliamentary upper house), contemplates adjusting parliamentary quotas in lower house

Ahram Online , Monday 30 Sep 2013
The Shura Council
The Shura Council, Parliament's upper house (Photo: AP)
Views: 2125
Views: 2125

A legal subcommittee to Egypt's 50-member constitutional committee has recommended retaining the country's upper house of parliament after initial proposals to abolish it, a panel member told Al-Ahram's Arabic website on Monday.

The 10-member legal committee had previously proposed eliminating the 33-year-old Shura Council, Egypt's upper house of parliament endowed with a consultative role. The proposal was welcomed by a number of political figures who argue that the body is ineffective and has squandered state funds. 

It is now up to the 50-member committee to decide whether or not to accept the legal committee's recommendations. 

However, a number of changes to the legislative branch, the parliament's lower house, are also on the table.

The legal committee is mulling allocating 25 percent of parliamentary representation to "youth, women, workers, and farmers," instead of the 50 percent quota previously reserved for workers and farmers alone, Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, assistant rapporteur to the System of Governance subcommittee, stated.

The proposal, which would reduce farmer and worker representation in the parliament, has drawn a wave of fury amongst this significant component of Egypt's population.

The 50-member constitutional committee tasked with amending Egypt's now-suspended 2012 constitution has two months to negotiate the charter's final draft.

Once a final draft is presented, a national referendum on the amendments must take place within 30 days, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.

The 2012 constitution was suspended as part of the transitional roadmap set forth by the country's interim administration following the popularly-backed ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July.

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