Egypt's parliament to begin discussing new local councils law on Sunday

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 19 Dec 2019

The long-awaited 156-article law regulates both the performance and election of local councils

Egyptian parliament
Egyptian parliament

Egypt's parliament – the House of Representatives – will begin discussing next week a government-drafted law aimed at regulating local councils.

According to parliament's debate schedule, the House will reconvene on 22 December to discuss the local administration committee's report on the new local councils law. Other laws drafted by three MPs on local councils will be also discussed.

According to the report, a government-drafted law aimed at regulating the performance and election of Egypt's local councils was referred to parliament in November 2016.

"As a result, a joint committee including MPs affiliated with the local administrative, legislative and constitutional affairs committees, and the budget were formed at that time to discuss the law," said the report, adding that "since then, as many as 70 meetings have been held by the joint committee."

"On 17 December 2019, the joint committee finalised its meetings and report on the law and referred it to the House's internal bureau led by the speaker," said the report.

The report at first reviews the historical development of laws which have governed the local administration system in Egypt since 1949. The new law is divided into four chapters: the basic components of the local administration system in Egypt, the local councils, the financial resources, and the local councils units.

The report indicates that the joint committee held a number of hearing sessions on the system that will be used in holding the local councils' election.

"After listening to the views of a wide array of experts and representatives of political parties and civil society organisations, it was agreed that a mixed individual and list party system will be adopted in holding the coming local councils," said the report, concluding that "a closed list party system will be used to elect 75 percent of seats, and an individual system will elect the remaining 25 percent of seats."

Ahmed El-Signi, head of the House's local administration committee, said the passing of a new local councils law could open the door for holding new municipal elections in Egypt early next year. In 2010, the Supreme Administrative Council ruled that the then-existing local councils be dissolved and since then no municipal elections have been held.

Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal told an African delegation last week that the House would soon discuss a long-awaited law aimed at regulating local councils very soon.

"Very soon we will discuss and pass a new local councils law which will seek to reinforce administrative decentralisation and improve public services offered to citizens," said Abdel-Aal.

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