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Egypt parliament upper house eliminated in draft constitution

Draft constitution to include unicameral legislative system after contested Shura Council voted out by amending committee

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Nov 2013
Egypt
Shura Council building hosting 2012 Constituent Assembly,(Photo: Reuters).
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The Shura Council, Egypt's parliamentary upper house, has been eliminated in the country's draft constitution, which will establish a unicameral legislative system if passed via nationwide referendum.

Egypt has used a bicameral system throughout most of its legislative history, and the decision to scrap the Shura Council came after much debate.

The decision was passed with 23 votes in favor of eliminating the legislative body. Nineteen voted against the move, with one abstention and seven other committee members absent during voting.

Constitutional committee head Amr Moussa voted in favor of keeping the council in the constitution.

The 50-member committee tasked with amending Egypt's suspended 2012 constitution is currently finalising a charter draft to be put up for national referendum within the coming months.

The committee had previously mulled eliminating the 33-year-old Shura Council, which has a primarily consultative role.

The proposal was welcomed by a wide array of political figures who argued that the body is toothless, has squandered state funds and was used as a pawn to tighten the government's grip on national press organisations through its role overseeing the appointment of leaders to state media bodies.

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