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Monday, 20 November 2017

Egypt to issue new parliamentary elections law in line with constitution

The law will be discussed within one month, amending the previous elections law to accord with the 2014 Constitution

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 8 Nov 2017
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File photo: Egyptian parliament (Photo: Reuters)
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New legislation amending Egypt’s parliamentary elections law to bring it in line with the 2014 constitution will be referred to parliament soon, member of a cabinet legislative reform committee Salah Fawzi told reporters on Wednesday. 

According Fawzi, a constitutional law professor, articles 243 and 244 of the constitution stipulate that there should be adequate representation of youth, Christians, physically challenged persons, and Egyptian expatriates in the first parliament elected after the promulgation of the 2014 constitution.

“This constitutional stipulation was translated into articles 4 and 5 in the current parliamentary elections law – officially known as the House of Representatives’ Election Law – and in the creation of the current parliament, which was elected in 2016 after the constitution was passed in 2014,” Fawzi said.

“However, as these articles have no longer become viable, it has become necessary that the law be changed to eliminate this stipulation.” 

Fawzi also said that the new law will be drafted in line with Article 102 of the constitution, which stipulates that the total number of elected MPs should be no less than 450, in addition to a number of appointees to be named by the president of the republic.

“The new law will also observe the constitution by taking into consideration the opinion of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), which is in charge of supervising all of Egypt’s elections and referendums,” Fawzi said.

“The NEC is the institution responsible for implementing the parliamentary elections law, and so the government has to seek the opinion of its members ahead of referring the new law to parliament,” said Fawzi.

Fawzi added that the 2014 constitution refrains from imposing a particular electoral system on the nation.

“[The constitution] only stipulates that the government and parliament should observe equality and transparency in drafting any parliamentary election laws,” he added.

A mixed election system was adopted during Egypt’s 2015 parliamentary polls, allocating two-thirds of seats to party-based candidates (448 MPs) and one third to independents (120 MPs), in addition to 28 appointed MPs.

Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal surprised MPs in a plenary session on Monday by revealing that a new parliamentary election law will be discussed by the House within one month.

Abdel-Aal said that the new law may adopt the individual candidacy system that was in effect in Egypt between 1990 and 2010.

“This system obliges MPs to attend parliament’s plenary meetings and those who fail to do so usually pay a heavy price when running in elections,” said Abdel-Aal.

At the end of Monday’s plenary session, Abdel-Aal also warned MPs that “those who fail to attend parliament’s plenary meetings at 10am every day will not be allowed to enter the House’s main hall.”

He also announced that parliament’s Pharaonic Hall will be closed as long as plenary meetings are in session.

“In the US Congress, members are always keen to come to plenary meetings on time, especially when there is a vote on important laws, and you have to be like this,” Abdel-Aal told MPs.

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