Although the Egyptian Parliament did not yet conclude its entire bills’ amendment and discussion that was on the forefront of the fourth legislative term agenda, however, it has new legislations on their way soon to be concluded as well.
Daily News Egypt presents an overview on the parliament’s current agenda and the course of legislations to be created following the constitutional amendments.
During the past month, the parliament agenda’s was crowded with debates and discussions over the constitutional amendments, which have recently been approved in April’s public referendum.
The constitutional amendments included around 12 new articles, such as the extension of the presidential term, reducing parliament representation, establishing the senate, allowing for the post of vice president, among others, which the parliament has established as laws.
Once the referendum concluded, the parliament started to receive questions regarding when it is expected to put drafts for the Senate and Constitutional Court Bills, and amend the Parliament Law. Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal commented that these bills will be concluded during the next term, rather than the current one.
He confirmed that all that has been raised about the laws regulating the elections of the House of Representatives and the Senate is incorrect, saying that these laws must be set in accordance with certain rules and not be left to any political party or coalition to work on, and that the government is not supposed to send any bills regarding the House of Representatives and the Senate Law since these topics belong to parliamentary affairs.
On the other hand, parliament member, Abla Al-Hawary, said that the government will send a draft of the new Senate Law and the amendment of the law of the House of Representatives to parliament for discussion.
She also suggested that the activation of the texts of the updated articles of the presidential term and the appointment of a vice president are expected to be finished before the end of the current legislative term.
Al-Hawary also noted that parliament is obliged to pass several laws which must be completed in the current legislative term, including the Personal Status Act, the Prevention of Underage Marriage, the Prevention of Violence Against Women, and the Office for the Prevention of Discrimination.
For his part, Deputy Head of the Egypt Support Coalition, Ahmed Al-Awadi, said that the coalition will form several committees in order to study the draft laws which will be presented to parliament during the coming period.
Parliament is awaiting the arrival of the Political Rights Laws, the Senate, and the House of Representatives to refer them to the legislative committee for discussion, Al-Awadi said, adding that it is better to hold the elections of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the localities at the same time to save expenses, as their costs would reach EGP 2bn so it is better to rationalise these expenses.
Khaled Hanafi, a member of the parliament’s constitutional and legislative affairs committee, announced that he is willing to draft an amendment to Law No 46 of 2014 concerning the House of Representatives.
The MP said that he is working on preparing a draft amendment to the law of the House of Representatives, to fit with the articles with the provisions of the constitutional amendments.
The parliamentary constitutional amendments included increasing the percentage of women’s representation and ensuring a fair representation for people with special needs, workers, peasants, and young people.
This was not only what Hanafi announced, but he also stated that he is preparing another legislation, which is to amend the law of the Supreme Constitutional Court according to the new constitutional amendments.
Last week, head of housing committee Alaa Wally said that the government sent the draft law of old rents on non-residential units and shops to parliament, and the housing committee is expecting to receive the bill from Abdel Aal, in order to directly start discussions in the coming days.
However, Abdel Aal stated that the parliament will not discuss the Old Rent Law unless further dialogues are held leading to a compromise, adding that members should be careful when making any statements as they are official and would reflected on the whole council.
Abdel-Al also asserted that the Old Rent Law draft is not on currently the council’s agenda. His statements came despite the fact that the law has been pending for a long time and that it was announced last week by several members that parliament will start discussing it soon.
Discussions and amendments for Criminal Procedures Laws, Cybercrime, Labour, and Municipalities, along with others, were on the parliament’s legislative agenda during this round. Yet, none of them have been concluded yet. The fourth legislative term of Egypt’s Parliament is expected to end in July.
On Sunday, Abdel Aal returned the draft of Internal Navigation Law to the transportation committee to reformulate it more in order to set the minister of transport as the only competent body responsible for navigation, which contradicts what the committee proposed which was that both the minister of transport and the minister of local development be responsible for automated river units, non-motorised river units, and stationary river units. This came in the plenary session, after the initial approval of the draft law.
Abdel Aal said that the suggestion of the committee regarding the competent minister “there is duplication to let more than one ministry to issue licenses to a single facility and this is an attitude we suffered from and must be stopped.”
The internal Navigation Draft Law achieves a number of key objectives, foremost of which is to ensure the safety of internal navigation through the amendment of licensing rules and regulations for the management, use, and command of units and to allow them to avoid accidents caused by technical and human errors. This is in addition to encouraging investment in river transport through issuing licenses and controlling the ownership of river units by documenting all the actions contained therein.
The draft law also aims to establish databases for the river transport system and global river units which will be under the hands of the General Authority for River Transport so that it can be aware all the actions which occur to the river unit and authorise the administration to control crimes determined by law.
In addition to this, it will include power of administrative withdrawal or cancellation of the license or reservation of the vessel in accordance with specific controls, as well as the authority to revoke licences or take necessary measures in order to ensure the safety of the passage of river units during navigation.
The project imposes state control on one of the most important service facilities through the exaction of appropriate penalties on those who disturb the proper performance of the river transport system, outside of the framework specified for them, in favour of citizens, the state, and its employees.
Parliament member, Ashraf Gamal, said that he approved the draft Internal Navigation Law because it is an important and necessary law, stressing the need to consider safe transport across the Nile river and protect the Nile from hazardous materials.
Ayman Abu El-Ela, chairperson of the parliamentary committee of the Free Egyptians Party, said: “I agree with the draft law as it reduces the burden on roads and railways and ensures safety in maritime navigation of all kinds. It is necessary to establish databases for a river transport system, and state control over the most important transport facility, river transport.”
Furthermore, the parliament is considering during the upcoming weeks the new Traffic Law. MP Mohamed Badawi Desouki, a member of the transportation committee, said that they are trying hard within the committee and through consultation with the concerned parties to develop a radical and final solution for the legality of the “TukTuk’ (three-wheeled vehicle) in the new Traffic Law, as it must be licensed under the traffic authority rather than under the localities authority, and its driver should not be less than 18 years of age.
He explained that the TukTuk led to a dropout of children from school, and caused several road accidents, especially on highways, because it is an unsafe means of transport, as it does not include any minimum of safety, since it is a light vehicle and the driver may not have proper control of the steering wheel, causing random movements which may obstruct the movement of other vehicles on the road.