Parliamentary approval was given on Sunday to amendments for Law 46/2014 regulating the formation and election of the House of Representatives.
Parliamentary approval was also given to two other laws on the exercise of political rights and the National Election Committee (NEC).
The amendments were drafted and submitted by the parliamentary majority, Support Egypt coalition, last week.
The parliamentary committee of constitutional and legislative affairs affirmed in a report that the draft law represents a qualitative leap in Egypt’s parliamentary life. The committee noted that it enhances democratic practice, whilst improving the country’s political environment.
Sunday’s session, headed by Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, witnessed debates among MPs on the election law.
Akmal Qortam, a businessperson and leader of the Conservative Party, said his party decided to abstain from voting on the law. He emphasised that there were many reasons for this, including that laws were not represented for national dialogue.
Qortam added that the adoption of the closed list electoral system does not serve the principle of political pluralism, as stipulated by the Constitution. He suggested that it is better for political pluralism to implement the proportional list system, which allows all political parties to have seats in parliament.
Meanwhile, Ashraf Rashad, head of the Mostaqbal Watan Party, insisted that the amendments were the result of a national dialogue among all political parties.
The parliament speaker said, “We are in front of three draft laws, which include amendments to the House of Representatives Law, the Exercise of Political Rights Law, and the National Elections Authority Law.”
Abdel Aal stressed that combining the three legislations into one law is an uncontrolled legal approach.
He added, “They had to be separated, so that the parliament could be allowed to take initial and final approval on them all, to avoid any challenge to the unconstitutionality of these legislations.”
The legislative affairs committee said that the proposed draft law represents a constitutional entitlement in accordance with the constitutional amendments made in 2019.
The amendments to the House of Representatives Law state that the number of elected MPs to the house should stand at 568, instead of 540. The updated figure falls in line with Article 102 of Egypt’s Constitution amended in 2019.
Article 3 stipulates that 50% of this number, or 284 MPs, will be elected via the individual electoral system, with the remaining 284 MPs to be elected through the closed list system.
The amendments also stipulate that “25% of the total number of the House’s seats shall be reserved for women, and the president shall be authorised to appoint no more than 5% of the total.”
Article 4 states that the individual electoral system shall be implemented in a number of constituencies, while the closed list system will be in application in four constituencies, of which two constituencies will elect 84 MPs, or 42 each, with the remaining two electing 200 MPs, or 100 each.
Article 4 also stipulates that the law regulating the constituencies will be passed to show in detail the size, seats, and components of each constituency.