Cairo, 1 Jumadil Awal 1434/12 March 2013 (MINA) – The Shura Council, the upper house of Egypt’s parliament, is moving towards preparing a new electoral law, after a court ruled the current law unconstitutional and said that elections would have to be postponed.
The council’s chairman Ahmed Fahmi said on Monday (11/3) that a new draft electoral law had been submitted by Mohamed Touson, a leading official of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and chairman of the Shura Council’s legislative and constitutional affairs committee, according to Ahram reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Tuesday.
“I ordered that a report about this draft electoral law be completed on Wednesday, so that the council can discuss it in a plenary session at the earliest possible time,” said Fahmi.
On Fahmi’s instructions, the Shura Council’s legislative and constitutional affairs committee set to work on Monday, with the majority of FJP deputies agreeing that a new electoral law must be drafted rather than introducing slight amendments to the old one, which was passed on 21 February.
Sobhi Saleh, deputy chairman of the committee, told Ahram Online that “the FJP saw that it would take a long time, possibly four months, to wait until the High Court gives a final verdict on the electoral law, as demanded by Administrative Court’s 6 March ruling.”
This, Saleh argued, would make it impossible to set a new date for parliamentary polls until next June.
Saleh indicated that a large number of deputies, including FJP members, opted for drafting a new electoral law.
“Once this law is approved by the Council, it will be referred to the High Court, to give its say in 45 days or less, and in accordance with Article 177 of the constitution,” said Saleh, adding that “this would cut short the time and help set a date for parliamentary polls at the end of April or early May, rather than wait until June or even after.”
Joining forces with FJP MPs, deputy justice minister Omar El-Sherif told the committee’s Monday meeting that a new election law must be drafted.
“But this law must tackle three controversial points in compliance with the High Court’s orders,” argued El-Sherif.
The Shura Council’s non-Islamist deputies, however, expressed dissatisfaction.
Mohamed Mohieddin, the representative of the liberal Ghad Al-Thawra party, warned that “the submission of a new electoral law would trigger objections from opposition forces and the public.” (T/P03/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)