Egypt's cabinet to approve Electoral districts Wednesday: Transitional justice minister

Ahram Online , Sunday 16 Nov 2014

Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim El-Heneidy speaks to Al-Ahram daily newspaper about the electoral district law, controversial protest law and a new draft law overseeing church construction

A general view of the first Egyptian parliament session after the revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo January 23, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian cabinet is expected to approve the new draft law aimed at redrawing the country’s electoral constituencies on Wednesday, transitional justice and house of representatives affairs minister Ibrahim El-Heneidy told Al-Ahram daily newspaper in an interview.

The Electoral districts law is a crucial step towards holding parliamentary elections that is considered the third and last step of the roadmap that was unveiled after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last year.

El-Heneidy said that the key features of the law have been drafted and that the Egyptian cabinet discussed redrawing the country's electoral constituencies last week.  

El-Heneidy indicated that the draft law, in line with the new constitution and a new house of representatives law, creates four constituencies designed for competition among party-based candidates.

He then stressed that as soon as the voters’ data is registered the electoral districts law will be approved.   

"The most important features of the law is that it will include 420 as independents and 120 elected as party-based candidates to be divided on the basis of the provinces of the east, west, north and south of Cairo," said El-Heneidy.

He added that new constituencies that never existed before such as Red Sea, Halayeb and Shalateen, Nubia and some districts in new urban communities are also included in the new law.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a meeting with a delegation of American businesspeople in early November that Egyptian parliamentary elections will take place before the end of March 2015.

The minister also spoke with the daily newspaper about the controversial protest law saying that the Egyptian cabinet has received many suggestions to ease its restrictions.

"The council of ministers got suggestions from different parties, one of which was the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), and I believe that there is a possibility that the cabinet can amend the law and put it up for a public debate," highlighted El-Heneidy.

The protest law, passed late last year, bans demonstrations without police authorisation and gives security forces the right to bar any public gathering of more than ten people.

Dozens of Egyptians both in and outside of prison have organised a hunger strike against the notorious law and for the release of those they say are being unfairly detained in a bid to curtail on freedoms won during the 2011 uprising.

Over 80 detainees are currently hunger-striking in jails, with several reported to be in critical health. Some 200 others outside prisons – including activists, journalists and families of the detainees – are organising a hunger strike in solidarity.

Speaking about a new law that regulates constructing churches in Egypt, El-Heneidy said that representatives from the Catholic, the Orthodox and the Protestant church presented a draft law concerning the matter to the government and that it is currently being discussed.

El-Heneidy also commented on the Carter center closure saying that it was to be a civic organisation that used to monitor any elections in Egypt to ensure fairness and transparency during the process; however, they decided to have an office in Egypt without a license.

In mid-October, the Carter Center closed its Egypt office saying the country is "unlikely to advance a genuine democratic transition."

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