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Shura Council to make laws until lower house elected: Presidency

Shura Council will remain in place until election of the House of Representatives, and may not have to be dissolved at all, according to government interpretations of a contentious ruling

Ahram Online, Sunday 2 Jun 2013
Shura Council
File photo: Egyptian Shura Council members (Photo: AP)
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The office of Egypt’s president announced on Sunday that the Shura Council would remain in place until the House of Representatives is elected, despite a Sunday court ruling that some of the Council’s members had been elected unconstitutionally.

The statement said that the Council, the upper house of parliament which currently holds legislative powers, would continue performing its full role until the transferal of legislative powers to the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament.

"The president is the judge between authorities, and practices his constitutional and legal role so as to ensure authorities perform their full roles in accordance with the constitution," said the presidency in a Sunday statement.

The constitution, which was approved by a majority in a national referendum, is the reference and all state authorities should protect it and abide by it, read the statement.

Egypt's High Constitutional Court on Sunday ruled unconstitutional a law governing elections for the Shura Council. It also ruled against the constitutionality of the Constituent Assembly which drafted Egypt’s newly passed last December.

According to Article 230 of the constitution, the Council is immune from dissolution until a lower house is elected. The constitution also gives the upper house temporary authority to pass legislation after a similar court order caused the dissolution of Egypt's lower house, then called the People's Assembly, in June 2012.

Minister of Political Affairs Hatem Bagato, however, stated that according to his interpretation the court ruling, the Shura Council will not be dissolved upon the election of the House of Representatives but will only transfer its legislative authority and continue with the tasks of the upper house of parliament as normal. New Shura Council elections would be held one year after the assembly of the lower house.

Most legal experts, however, believe that Sunday’s ruling will mean the dissolution of the Shura Council upon the election of a new House of Representatives and its first assembly.  

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