Egypt Cabinet approves parliament constituencies law

Ahram Online , Wednesday 10 Dec 2014

The constituencies law is the final step before parliamentary elections, expected to be held mid next year

A boy rides a bike in front of the parliament building in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's cabinet approved on Wednesday the electoral constituencies law, the final legal step necessary before the parliamentary vote expected mid next year.

The people's assembly will constitute 567 seats, of which 420 will be allocated for independent candidates and 120 for electoral party lists.

The president will be entitled to appoint five percent of the representatives, or 27 seats.

Independent candidates will be divided over 232 constituencies while party list candidates will be divided over four large constituencies, parliamentary affairs official Refaat Qumsan said.

The elections law, approved in June, was criticised by a variety of political forces and parties for the allocation of most of the parliament's seats to individual candidates and closed party lists.

Critics say the law will bring back the political ineffectiveness of the Hosni Mubarak era when business tycoons and rich local clans used their influence to get the upper hand in parliament.

The cabinet's approval comes after a seven-member technical committee formed by the prime minister in October finalised the amended draft on Monday.

The new draft has been referred to ‎the state council's department of legislation for ‎final revision of constitutional and legal terminology, a process that is expected to take only a few days.

The law still has to be ratified by Egypt's President, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who currently holds all legislative powers until the new parliament is sworn in.

Parliamentary elections are the third and final step in a political roadmap set forth after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi July 2013.

To ensure equality, the law stipulates a specified number of seats to different sets of minorities and underrepresented factions in society. At least 24 seats are allocated for Christians, eight for expats, eight for the handicapped, and 21 for female candidates.

The constituencies law allocated ‎separate districts for new housing communities on the outskirts of big cities and for border cities like Halayeb and Shalatin and Nubia.‎

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