File photo of Egyptian parliament (Reuters)
Egypt's parliamentary speaker Ali Abdel-Aal has said that the House of Representatives will soon discuss a long-awaited law aimed at regulating local councils.
"Very soon we will discuss and pass a new local council law which will seek to reinforce administrative decentralisation and improve the public services offered to citizens," he said.
Abdel-Aal was speaking during a meeting with Ibrahim Gambari, the head of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), on Monday evening.
The speaker said that Egypt's parliament has achieved a lot in the area of rational governance and administrative reform, and said the new law would be a progressive step in the decentralisation process.
Since the 30 June Revolution in 2013, he said, Egypt has passed a large number of very important laws, covering regulations around church building, investment rules and incentives, implementing a new comprehensive health insurance system, and the establishment of a national election commission.
"And now we are about to enter a new stage of administrative decentralisation which aims to preserve the state's rights and also guarantee that ordinary citizens get improved public services and have access to modern utilities, and that this will be achieved, as parliament will discuss a new local council law very soon," said Abdel-Aal.
Ahmed El-Sigini, the head of parliament's local administration committee, told Al-Ahram newspaper last week that a report on the local council law was referred to parliament speaker two months ago.
"The report includes the draft of the new local council law and all the debates that had been held on this new 270-article legislation in a national dialogue," said El-Sigini, indicating that "the new law regulates both the performance and election of local councils."
Abdel-Aal explained that the relationship between parliament and the government is governed by the constitution and the House's internal bylaws. "We are also governed by the principle of separation of powers and in this respect we discuss and pass laws and it is obligatory for the government to implement these laws," said Abdel-Aal.
In supervisory terms, Abdel-Aal said parliament is keeping a watchful eye on the government's performance and has the right to summon cabinet ministers to face questions from MPs and can withdraw confidence from the cabinet as a whole.
Gambari commented that Egypt is one of the founders of the APRM, and an influential African country.
"The number of African countries which are members of the mission increased from nine in 2003 to 38 in 2019," he said, indicating that "APRM's report on Egypt will be discussed in a meeting to be attended by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in February 2020.”
Gambari said the self-assessment report was prepared in compliance with Egypt's Vision 2030 plan and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The APRM is an AU agency that was established in 2003. It aims to encourage members to share information on best practices in governance, via voluntary review and assessment.