File photo: Egyptian parliamentarians convene for the first time on 23 January 2012 following the country's first post-Mubarak elections(Photo: AP)
The number of seats of Egypt's House of Representatives, or lower house of parliament, will be decreased from an originally proposed figure of 630 to 567, said Mahmoud Fawzi, spokesman of the technical committee in charge of recently amending Egypt's parliamentary election laws.
The decision comes after a cabinet meeting held by interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahleb on Wednesday evening in which a decrease in the number of parliamentary seats was endorsed.
Of the total 567 seats, Fawzi said, 420 will be elected via the individual candidacy system, while as many as 120 will be reserved for party lists.
As many as 27 seats – 5 percent – will be named by the president, in accordance with the new constitution, he said.
The decrease comes after pressure from Amr Moussa, chairman of the committee which drafted Egypt's constitution in January, and leaders of several political parties, who argued that the original figure of 630 was very large and could paralyse the new parliament. Moussa said the hall of the House of Representatives can't accommodate 630 members, not to mention that such a large number of deputies won't be able to take the floor and express their views adequately.
The new amendments to the laws can be endorsed by president-elect Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi if outgoing interim president Adly Mansour declines to sign them before Sunday, when El-Sisi will be sworn in as Egypt's next president.
On Thursday, Mahleb visited the hall of the House of Representatives (formerly the People's Assembly) and said that having 576 members will ensure the deputies can perform their duties effectively.
Amin El-Magdi, house affairs minister, said the halls of the defunct upper house of the Shura Council can be used for meetings of the committees of the House of Representatives.