Egypt's Senate (Photo: Khaled Mashaal)
Egypt's newly-elected Senate began drafting its bylaws Sunday. The move came after speaker of the Senate, Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek, formed Saturday a 30-member ad hoc committee to be entrusted with drafting the upper chamber's internal laws.
Informed sources indicated that the ad committee, headed by Abdel-Razek, will hold a series of closed-door meetings until it finishes its job within 30 days, after which a complete draft of the Senate's internal bylaws will be put to discussion when the chamber meets in a plenary sitting 29 November.
The ad hoc committee comprises a number of legal and legislative experts and public figures such as Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, the Senate's deputy speaker and former chairman of parliament's Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee; Sameh Ashour, the former head of the Lawyers’ Syndicate and a former MP; Farag El-Dori, a former secretary-general of the defunct Shura Council; and Mohamed Shabana, secretary-general of the Journalists’ Syndicate.
Mahmoud Othman, who was named the Senate's secretary-general Saturday, told reporters Sunday that the chamber's secretariat has already prepared a draft copy of the chamber's internal bylaws.
"This draft will be discussed by the ad hoc committee in its meeting Sunday,” adding that "members of the committee could change or add articles to this draft until they reach a final draft at the end of one month."
Phoebe Fawzi, the Senate's second deputy speaker, told reporters: "On Sunday, we will begin with discussing 35 articles of the draft and we hope that we will be able to reach a final draft before the Senate meets on 29 November,” adding: “Next, the final draft will be discussed and voted by senators in plenary sessions, and once approved, it shall be referred to the House of Representatives to be discussed, passed and then enacted into law."
Fawzi explained that the Senate's internal bylaws will regulate the performance of senators, their roles and responsibilities; the formation of committees; the role of the Ethics Committee; the relationship between the Senate and the House of Representatives; the system of discussing laws and proposed constitutional amendments; the parliamentary immunity of members; the lifting of a senator's membership; the holding of secret meetings; and the Senate's budget.
Meanwhile, one hundred senators named by President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi received a welcome reception Sunday. Senate speaker Abdel-Razek was keen to congratulate each appointed MP in person.
Abdel-Razek said he is sure that the Senate's appointed members come from a diversity of political backgrounds and will be up to the job. "It is very important that Egypt has two chambers of parliament in the coming period, because this will widen the scope of political participation and improve the performance of the legislature," said Abdel-Razek.