Legislative committee to meet Sunday to redraft Egypt's election laws

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 7 Mar 2015

Moves to draft two election laws will begin Sunday after they were ruled unconstitutional

A government-affiliated committee will begin meeting Sunday to redraft two election laws after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled them unconstitutional.

Salah Fawzi, a member of the committee and a constitutional law professor, told parliamentary reporters on Saturday that the two laws on the division of Egypt's electoral constituencies and the House of Representatives will be subject to a comprehensive review.

Fawzi said the court's ruling on Saturday that citizens with dual nationality cannot be stripped of the right to run in parliamentary elections will require amending the law regulating the performance of the House of Representatives – widely known as the parliamentary elections law.

"In compliance with the court's ruling, the committee will meet to debate amending the first paragraph of Article 8 of the House of Representatives law," said Fawzi, adding that "the article in its current text stipulates that those who wish to run for parliament must hold Egyptian nationality only."

"The article will be simply amended to allow citizens with dual nationality to run for parliament, either as independents or as candidates on party-based lists," he said.

Fawzi indicated that the committee at its Sunday meeting will also discuss the court's instructions on 1 March that Article 3 of the electoral constituencies law be ruled unconstitutional.

Fawzi explained that the article is designed to regulate competition among independent candidates in 237 constituencies. "As a result, our discussions will be mainly focused on amending independent constituencies, and not covering four constituencies related to competition among party lists," he said.

The legislative committee, headed by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ibrahim El-Heneidy, includes eleven members, mostly constitutional law professors.

El-Heneidy told parliamentary reporters last week that the scope of the committee could be widened to include representatives from political parties. El-Heneidy also indicated that upon instruction from President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the committee will be required to finish its job – amending the two laws on electoral constituencies and the House of Representatives – in less than one month.

"We will study the Supreme Constitutional Court's ruling and its stipulations for equality among constituencies and in this light we will put forward our new amendments," the minister said.

El-Heneidy sharply criticised "those who accuse the government and President El-Sisi of trying their best to delay parliamentary elections."

"To them I say, you are strong believers in the conspiracy theory because the regime demonstrated several times that it wants parliamentary elections to be held as soon as possible," he said.

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