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Egyptian parliament: To be or not to be? - Daily News Egypt

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Egyptian parliament: To be or not to be?

Senior legal advisors say parliamentary law is unconstitutional

(AFP File Photo)
(AFP File Photo)

A Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) commission concluded that the laws organising political life and parliamentary elections contain violations of the constitution, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported Sunday.

The court will grant its final verdict on the matter Wednesday. The report marks a major turn of events, as the upcoming parliament could as such be postponed.

“It is extremely rare and unlikely that the court will not follow the commission’s  report recommendations,” Chairman of Al-Geel Party Nagy El-Shehaby told Daily News Egypt Monday.

Three major laws are set to be revised under the scope: the law organising political rights issued by Adly Mansour, former interim president and current president of the SCC in 2014 and the second law regarding the parliament’s organisation. The third law was issued under President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and concerns the division of the country into constituencies to be represented in the parliament.

According to the SCC’s commission of senior judges, laws set a maximum amount for electoral campaign at EGP 500,000. The new limit contradicts the concept of equal rights, as the amount is only affordable by wealthy candidates.

“Money plays a major role in the degree of one’s influence in this country,” Vice President of the Egyptian Social Democratic Parties (ESDP) Farid Zahran explained to Daily News Egypt earlier in February.

More importantly, and despite the constitution allowing a mixed electoral system between individuals and lists, SCC advisors found that the parliamentary division of constituencies is unconstitutional, as the constitution stated a fair representative division of constituencies, in a way that guarantees fair governorates and equal representation for voters.

Many politicians found the system to be reliant on a majority of individual candidates in favour of the most powerful political figures, of which a majority come from Hosni Mubarak’s dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP).

“Drawing the political scene in that particular manner shows us that the state has a pre-desired outcome of the elections. It is also another way to falsify voters’ will by limiting their choice,” Zahran said. “When you have a system of individuals, your choice is not politically driven anymore, as those candidates will rely on their networks of personal relations.”

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