Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Egypt: Amendments to election laws completed

The Egyptian cabinet’s drafting committee on Monday finished amending laws regulating parliamentary elections, Transitional Justice Minister Ibrahim El-Heneidy has said.
Amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Law and the Law of the Exercise of Political Rights were minimal, committee member Ali Awad said.

The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruled parts of the laws unconstitutional on 1 March, hence postponing long-delayed parliamentary elections originally scheduled for late March.

Meanwhile, the amended Elections Constituency Division Law was approved by the cabinet on 14 April.

El-Heneidy said at a press conference on Monday that the laws will be sent on Wednesday to the State Council, which will give its opinion, as well as the Supreme Constitutional Court.

According to the amended Parliamentary Elections Law, the new parliament will consist of 596 seats: 448 for independent candidates, 120 for party-based candidates elected through lists, and 28 appointed by the president.

As per the Elections Constituency Division Law, there will be 203 constituencies: 43 constituencies with one seat, 93 constituencies represented by two seats, 49 constituencies with three seats and 18 constituencies represented by four seats, said Refaat Abol Qomsan, committee member and assistant to the prime minister for election matters.

Previous election laws had set the number of constituencies at 237 and the parliament consisted of 567 seats: 120 for party-based candidates running on electoral lists, 420 for independent candidates and 27 appointed by the president.

In its ruling on 1 March, the SCC said the constituencies had to fairly represent the population, and the number of residents plus the number of people registered to vote, divided by two, was the correct mathematical calculation to determine each constituency, according to Abol Qomsan.

He explained that under the amended law, the size of constituencies must not vary by more than 25 percent, as required by the SCC.

Committee member and constitutional law professor Ali Abdel Aal also said that 50 percent of the seats assigned by the president in the new parliament will consist of women, as per the constitution.

Parliamentary elections constitute the third and final step in a political roadmap set forth following the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The first two steps included passing a constitution in January 2014, followed by presidential elections in June 2014.

Once in session, the parliament will review within 15 days all laws issued under President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his predecessor Adly Mansour.


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