Last Update 14:57
Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Egypt's constitutional committee at odds over abolishing upper house

Members of Egypt's constitution-drafting body disagree over whether to scrap the upper house of parliament, long seen as toothless

Ahram Online , Tuesday 29 Oct 2013
Egypt's constitutional committee (Photo: Khaled Mashal)
Views: 1819
Views: 1819

A move to abolish Egypt's upper house of parliament has stirred disagreement among the fifty members of the committee responsible for making changes to Egypt’s constitution.

In a Sunday meeting of the sub-committee responsible for working on governance issues, members were at loggerheads over the removal of proposed articles related to Egypt's upper chamber.

The 50-member committee had previously mulled eliminating the 33-year-old Shura Council, which has a primarily consultative role.

The proposal was welcomed by a wide array of political figures who argued that the body is toothless, has squandered state funds and was used as a pawn to tighten the government's grip on national press organisations through its role overseeing the appointment of leaders to state media bodies.

El-Sayyed El-Badawy, head of the liberal Wafd Party, argued that the phrasing sub-committee, which had removed the articles in question, is not entitled to abolish the chamber without referring the decision to the governance sub-committee.

Others, including Amr El-Shobaky, head of the governance sub-committee, advised scrapping the chamber on the grounds that it was ineffective.

Amr Moussa, head of the 50-member committee, has steered a middle course, backing an earlier proposition to retain the house under a new a name – the Senate - with fresh powers.

A spokesman for the 50-member committee had previously said that the council would bring legislative balance and prevent dominance by certain parties in the parliament.

A number of changes to the parliament's lower house are also on the table.

The 2012 Islamist-drafted constitution, which was passed by national referendum, was suspended when Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the army in July after mass protests against him.

The new transitional roadmap put forward by the army included amending the constitution.

The amended charter will be presented to interim President Adly Mansour in early December for approval and will then be subject to a national referendum.

The transitional roadmap envisions parliamentary elections and a presidential vote by mid-2014.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

29-10-2013 11:19pm
I plead with the 50 member committee and especially mr. el shobaky, to examine their own logic. the majority appear to want to retain quotas, and many want to abolish the upper house. but that's what an upper chamber is for: for quotas!!!! please try to follow at least some rules/principles/criteria, in this case, 'let the people decide', make the lower house democratic, elected. the 'senate' can have quotas of groups like women, copts, farmers, 'workers', etc.
Comment's Title

© 2010 Ahram Online.