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Shura Council discusses amended electoral law

The law, which has been criticised by liberal parties, will be sent to the High Constitutional Court after approval from the council

Ahram Online, Monday 1 Apr 2013
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Essam El-Erian speaking during a session in the Shura Council. (Photo: AP)
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Vice president of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Essam El-Erian has said that the Shura Council will begin discussing an amended law on the exercise of political rights and electoral rules which was passed by the council's committees "in principle" last week.

El-Erian, who is spokesperson for the council, said in a statement on his official Facebook page on Monday that council members submitted their suggestions to amend the law to the constitutional and legislative committee of the council.

When finally approved by the Shura Council, the law should be sent to the High Constitutional Court (HCC) to rule on its constitutionality.

The law, which was first passed in 1956, sets the rules for the eligibility of candidates and voters and details election procedures. It has been amended over 20 times since 1956.

Several liberal-oriented political parties did not agree with the new amendments to the law, saying that it was passed hastily, as was the electoral law last February which caused wide controversy when it was ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

"I was satisfied to see good representation by most Egyptian political parties including the Wafd Party, the Free Egyptians, Al-Wasat and others discussing the law yesterday," wrote El-Erian. "The council now has over 18 political parties, including strong and weak ones, and old and new."

The Shura Council is made up of 270 members, 90 of whom were appointed by the president on 24 December, including 42 Islamists. Out of the 180 elected seats, 58 percent went to the FJP and 25 percent to the Salafist Nour Party.  

On 6 March, Egypt's Administrative Court overturned a presidential degree calling for new parliamentary elections on 22 April. It returned the previous electoral law to the HCC to rule on its constitutionality.

The Egyptian State Lawsuit Authority submitted an appeal against the rule on behalf of the presidency. The Supreme Administrative Court is expected to announce its verdict on the appeal on 7 April.

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