The Shura Council’s Committee on Legislative and Constitutional Affairs approved on Tuesday amendments proposed by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) to the political participation bill.
The court had referred the bill back to the upper house of parliament with suggested amendments after finding nine articles within the bill unconstitutional, alongside amendments to four unconstitutional articles within the House of Representatives elections bill.
Sobhi Saleh, committee member and Muslim Brotherhood leading figure who presided over Tuesday’s session, stated that the legislative committee approved all the SCC’s amendments to the political participation bill, reported state-owned Al-Ahram.
The amendments included changes to Article 16, which states that elections should be fully monitored by the judiciary. The committee stated that even voting by Egyptian expatriates abroad would be monitored by the judiciary.
The legislative committee also approved an article banning electoral campaigning based on religious, sexist, or ethnic slogans or symbols or any slogans which might threaten national unity. The penalty for violating the ban is imprisonment for at least three months and a monetary fine between EGP 5,000 to 10,000.
The article was deemed unconstitutional by the SCC for failing to explicitly ban the use of religious slogans in campaigning.
The committee also cancelled articles in the bill requiring private-owned media to dedicate equal coverage to all candidates, said Mustafa Helal, Shura Council spokesperson. The articles were considered unconstitutional because they violate freedoms of speech, press, and expression, the court said.
The article preventing military and security personnel from voting was amended based on recommendations by the Armed Forces. Although the SCC deemed the exclusion of military and police from voting unconstitutional, the Armed Forces’ proposition postponed allowing personnel to vote until July 2020.
During a meeting with the Committee on Legislative and Constitutional Affairs on Sunday, Major General Mamdouh Shahin, the Defence Ministry’s assistant for legal and constitutional affairs, said that including personal data and information of officers and members of the Armed Forces in the voter database could jeopardise national security.
Minister of State for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hatem Bagato said that a secure framework could be put in place allowing police and military personnel to vote by July 2020.
The SCC’s amendments to the House of Representatives’ elections bill are scheduled to be reviewed by the committee next week.
The two bills make up the legislation governing the upcoming elections for the lower house of parliament.