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Egypt's cabinet passes contested parliamentary laws to president

Critics have argued that the new laws cut out new political groups' chances of filling parliamentary seats

Ahram Online , Wednesday 4 Jun 2014
File photo: A general view of the session of the upper house of the parliament in Cairo June 10, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian cabinet headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has agreed on two draft laws, one regulating Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections and the other the electoral make-up of the House of Representatives, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported on Wednesday.

The cabinet has now passed the two laws to Egypt's newly-elected president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who won last week's vote by 96.91 percent, according to official figures announced by the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) on Tuesday.

El-Sisi will review the laws and then decide on their approval, said cabinet spokesman Hossam El-Kawish, who added that the next cabinet meeting will be on Sunday.

El-Kawish explained that the House of Representatives bill stipulates the total number of MPs to be 567.

Among the 567, about 540 will be elected, with 420 members drawn from individual candidacy lists and 120 from absolute closed party lists.

El-Kaweesh also said that 5 percent of the seats will be by appointment.

The new draft House of Representatives law stipulates that each individual candidacy list must include nine seats for Coptic Christians, six for workers and farmers, six others for youth, three for persons with special needs and three for expats.

Also , 56 seats will be for women on the individual candidacy lists, in addition to the seats that will be by appointment or for the absolute closed party lists.

El-Sisi must approve the two laws before 18 July as the new constitution, passed on 18 January, stipulates that preparations for Egypt's parliamentary polls must begin within six months of its ratification, or before 18 July.

The two laws, whose drafts were announced on 24 May, aim to raise the total number of parliamentary seats from 508 to 567, with stipulations that 80 percent of the seats be contested via the individual candidacy system and 20 percent from party lists.

Political groups have reacted angrily so far to the draft laws, arguing that the system cuts out the chances of budding pro-revolutionary groups to be elected into the house. 

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