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Egypt's Shura council approves controversial new elections law

Egypt's Upper House of Parliament approves new elections law referring it to the High Constitutional Court; the Islamist-led body rejects affirmative action proposals on women and Christians

Ahram Online, Saturday 19 Jan 2013
Shura Council
A general view shows the Shura Council during its meeting in Cairo December 26, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's Shura council approved a new parliamentary elections law on Saturday sending it to the High Constitution Court (HCC) for revision.

The HCC has forty-five days to determine the constitutionality of articles in the new law.

If approved, the law will be sent back to the Shura council which would refer it to President Mohamed Morsi, who will set the exact date for new elections or a house of representatives.

The Shura Council rejected a proposal which mandates that winning electoral lists must include at least one Christian candidate.

The council also voted down a proposal for the replacement of current 50+1 system with a majority win system.

The council rejected an amendment put forward by MP Soubhy el-Gezery to allocate a number of seats in the new house of representative for Egyptians residing abroad as previously requested by the foreign ministry.

The council also rejected a proposal that would have mandated that at least one woman be included in the first half of each electoral list, thus budging to objections from the Salafist Nour Party which says it opposes "quota" systems. The Council opted, instead, to mandate that at least one female candidate would be nominated on an electoral list in any given spot.

The elections for the House of Representatives (lower house of parliament which was previously known as the People's Assembly) were initially expected to be held 60 days after the ratification of the new Constitution, a timeline set out in Morsi's July presidential decree.

However, a spokesperson of the Freedom and Justice Party Ahmed Sobei had told Ahram Online on 9 January that the parliamentary elections will roughly be held in April.

The final draft of the national charter was approved on 25 December, 2012 following a public referendum.

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