Muslim Brotherhood keen to maintain Egypt's Shura Council

Ahram Online, Wednesday 26 Sep 2012

Islamist group calls for maintaining parliament's upper house in new constitution, saying Shura Council plays important role in Egypt's legislative process

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday reiterated its insistence on maintaining the Shura Council – the upper, consultative house of parliament – under Egypt's new constitution, arguing that the council played an important role in the legislative process by ensuring the constitutionality of proposed legislation.

Mahmoud Ghozlan, Brotherhood spokesman and member of Egypt's Constituent Assembly (tasked with drafting a new constitution), attributed the current disagreement within the Constituent Assembly over maintaining the Shura Council to the council's negative image following decades of misuse by former regimes.  

After being reinstated by former president Anwar El-Sadat, the Shura Council was used by the regime to grant its loyalists political immunity and to control the state press, Ghozlan explained, stressing that – in the event that the council is maintained – this would no longer be the case.

Ghozlan went on to assert that Egypt was suffering from "legislative diarrhea," with more than 29,000 laws already on the books. The Shura Council, he said, would serve to "filter" legislation.

The Constituent Assembly is slated to finalise the new draft constitution – which will settle the fate of the Shura Council once and for all – by the end of September. Some observers, however, express doubt that the draft charter will be ready this soon.

The troubled Constituent Assembly, meanwhile, still faces the risk of dissolution by court order in October on grounds that its members were appointed by the People's Assembly, the since-dissolved lower house of Egypt's parliament.

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