Egypt parliament gives government 14 days to draft new Equal Citizenship Law

Ahram Online , Tuesday 1 Nov 2016

A law drafted by the parliament's legislative committee is currently barred from discussion upon request of government

Ali Abdel-Al  Reuters
House's speaker Ali Abdel-Al during the opening session of the parliament in Cairo, Egypt, January 10, 2016 (Reuters)

Egypt's House of Representative gave the government a 14-day ultimatum to finish drafting a new Equal Citizenship Law, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported on Monday.

The parliament's legislative and human rights committees had already drafted a separate Equal Citizenship Law. This draft will not, however, be discussed on the floor for the time being per a request from the Ministry of Justice.

The government's draft law—prepared by the justice ministry—is awaiting review by the cabinet before it can be sent to parliament, according to ministry representative Samer El-Awady.  

Parliament member Bahaa El-Din Abu Shoqa said that parliament will discuss the draft put forward by its legislative committee in the event that the government fails to meet the set deadline.

Several parliamentarians objected to the postponement of discussion on the legislative committee's draft, arguing that legislation should be the job of the House of Representatives, not the cabinet.

"There should be a separation of powers according to the constitution which gives the parliament the right to legislate," said MP Kamal Ahmed.  

A new Equal Citizenship Law would aim to combat discrimination based on religion, gender, race and class.

A draft law put forward by MP Alaa Abdel-Moneim in June proposed ending the inclusion of religious affiliation on national identification cards.

The June bill also included articles guaranteeing equal opportunity in the workplace, equal opportunity to build places of worship and freedom of religion. It mandated harsher punishments for discrimination and inciting violence against a certain group or people.

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