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Egypt's opposition to refer unified amendments of election laws to El-Sisi

Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is expected Monday to receive the country's opposition party's proposed amendments to three election laws

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 18 May 2015
Egypt
File Photo: Egyptian parliament (Photo: AP)
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Representatives of a number of political parties on Sunday drafted a unified list of legal amendments to present to the government, with the hope of paving the way for the country’s long-delayed parliamentary polls.  

Egypt's parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held in March, but were postponed after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled three election laws unconstitutional.

President El-Sisi subsequently ruled out the possibility of holding elections ahead of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, scheduled to begin on 18 June.

The three election laws are currently being revised in constitutional and legal terms by the State Council's department of legislation and fatwas.

The laws deal with the performance of the House of Representatives, the Exercise of Political Rights, and the Division of Electoral Constituencies.

According to Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, chairman of the liberal Reform and Development Party, a three-day workshop took place this week which included legislative experts and political analysts.

He added that the workshop was able to transform into a reality an initiative aimed at helping Egypt's opposition parties reach a consensus on the amendments of the country's three election laws.

"The objective of the workshop was to unify different amendments to the laws into a draft to be referred to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi as an alternative to amendments drafted by a government-appointed committee last month," Sadat told Ahram Online.

Sadat said "some political parties proposed amendments for the three laws, while others drafted amendments for just one or two laws."

However, Sadat indicated that most of the proposed amendments focused on amending the electoral constituencies law to go in line with the constitution and rulings issued by the Supreme Constitutional Court early last March.

Yehia Qadri, deputy chairman of the Egyptian National Movement Party, said that those attending the meetings had reached a consensus on the need to amend the law governing the performance of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Article 49 of the law “should be modified to give the court the right to exercise scrutiny of election laws before they are ratified by the president, in order to make any coming parliament immune to constitutional challenges.”

"If this proved difficult, we proposed that if any coming parliament was ruled unconstitutional for any reasons, the ruling should not have immediate effect," indicated Qadri.

He added that it is similar to “the case with tax laws when ruled unconstitutional, parliaments should not be dissolved immediately if ruled unconstitutional."

"If a parliament is ruled unconstitutional, we propose that it stays in session until it completes its term, which is to be followed by amending the law ruled unconstitutional," Qadri told Al-Ahram newspaper.

Qadri also indicated that most of the amendments proposed by the initiative's workshop focused on the articles ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Constitutional Court .

A copy of the opposition's amendments will be also referred to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Qadri added.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Justice Ibrahim Al-Heneidy told parliamentary reporters that if the amendments are submitted to the president or prime minister they will be then referred to a government-appointed committee.

The committee, which is in charge of drafting election laws, will then “investigate whether these amendments go in line with the constitution and SCC’s rulings,” Al-Heneidy said.

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