Workers clean inside the Egyptian parliament in Cairo (Photo: AP)
The Minister of Transitional Justice and House of Representatives Affairs, Ibrahim El-Heneidy said President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi is expected to soon ratify the newly-drafted electoral constituencies law and pave the way for parliamentary polls.
In a statement to parliamentary reporters on Monday, Minister of Transitional Justice and House of Representatives Affairs, Ibrahim El-Heneidy indicated that final preparations for parliamentary polls will only begin when the president ratifies the newly-amended electoral constituencies law.
The law was approved by the cabinet in a plenary meeting on 18 December and was submitted to El-Sisi for final ratification on the same day.
Many expected that the law would be ratified by El-Sisi before he left for China on Monday, however this did not happen.
El-Heneidy said that once the law is ratified, which he expects will be very soon, the Higher Elections Commission (HEC) – the judicial body which is in charge of supervising the polls from A to Z – will be able to meet to set dates for registration and voting.
The House of Representatives law specifies that Egypt's new parliament comprises 567 seats, 120 for party-based candidates, 420 for independents and 27 for presidential appointees.
“We are currently in the process of preparing a law aimed at establishing a national commission for elections,” said El-Heneidy.
The national commission however will not be operating in the coming elections.
"Articles 208, 209, and 210 of the new national charter stipulate that the first post-constitution's parliamentary polls be supervised by a higher election commission, but that after that a national commission for elections must be set up to take charge of supervising all kinds of polls in Egypt, be they presidential, parliamentary, municipal or referendums," indicated El-Heneidy.
According to these three articles, the national commission for elections must be composed of ten judicial members, drawing from the courts of cassation, appeal, the state council and other two judicial authorities – the state cases authority and administrative prosecution.
El-Heneidy explained that the law regulating the commission will be revised by a legislative reform committee formed by El-Sisi last June and submitted at a later stage to the coming parliament for discussion and ratification.
As the HEC will be supervising the coming parliamentary elections, polls will be held under the principle "a judge for every voting box,” El-Heneidy indicated.
"But after the new national commission for elections is set up, there will be no need for this principle to continue because the country will be able to have a highly skilled team of personnel and NGOs capable of supervising the polls fairly," argued El-Heneidi.