Egypt's House of Representatives - File Photo
Egypt's House of Representatives - File Photo

Overview of laws passed by Parliament in 2nd round

Fri, Jul. 14, 2017
CAIRO - 14 July 2017: Throughout 68 sessions of Egypt’s Parliament’s second round of the five-year-old legislative term, the House of Representatives approved a total of 217 laws on social, economic and security affairs, according to a report published on the parliament’s official website on July 6.

The number of laws approved during the second round was higher than the first round, during which Parliament approved 82 of the bills proposed by parliament members and the government, the report said.

The Parliament’s second nine-month round concluded on July 5. As per Article No. 115 of the 2014 Constitution, the Parliament shall continue its session at least for nine months that could be renewed throughout its term.

In his speech during the closing session, speaker Ali Abdel Aal said the number of draft laws approved in the second session is the highest number of legislations passed in the history of the Egypt legislature since 1866.

Economy-related laws
The Parliament approved the long-awaited Investment Law, Industrial Permit Act, Commercial Record Law and the Law of Organizing and Encouraging Industry, as well as the Value-Added Tax law, a required key part procedure for the state economic reform program.

Parliament also approved laws that are part of the state’s efforts to provide social protection for citizens such as military and civil pension’s increment laws.

These laws also included special bonuses for employees in governmental organizations that the Civil Service Law does not apply to, as well as another law granting an exceptional bonus to civil servants whether covered by the Civil Service law or not.

The Civil Service law that was approved in 2016 during the first legislative round is dedicated to regulating the civil servants’ administrative working system. A number of independent worker unions have rejected some articles of this law.

Social and security laws
Also among the laws approved in the second round were the Law of Illegal Immigration and Human Trafficking, the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) law, amendments to the Protest Law and a law regarding the hiring of heads of judicial authorities by the president.

Despite this high record, concerns were raised about whether these laws were passed in a hurry as post-revolution laws and to meet the exigencies of the transitional stage. Other concerns questioned whether the passed laws were put to fair communal dialogues and had sufficient discussions.

Amr Rabei, the vice president of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Egypt Today on Thursday that the approval of 217 laws indicates that the parliament has performed its “governmental duty,” but did not totally meet public demand on various topics.

Rabei, who is a political analyst, continued that with regard to the parliament’s efficiency it is still unclear, as these laws were recently approved and no result is seen on the ground so far.

Media Law
One of laws passed was drafted by public figures, the Institutional Regulation Media and Press law. Many media experts formulated the law to determine the executive regulation of three bodies tasked to oversee the entire work of Egyptian media outlets.

The parliament has already approved the formation of the bodies, namely the Supreme Council for the Administration of Media and Press, the National Press Authority and the National Media Authority, but their laws shall be finalized in the upcoming session.

The Institutional Regulation Media and Press law is a replacement of the Union of Broadcast and Radio law of 1979, and of the fourth section of the Regulation of the Press law of 1996.

It is also a replacement of another bill titled “Unified Media” which was proposed by media and press experts and was already approved by cabinet, but was not discussed in parliament.

The law to regulate the media was long awaited to tackle the ethical regulation of media and press outlets, and address the issues of imprisonment for publishing- related crimes.

Anti-terrorism laws
Moreover, there were also calls by politicians, lawmakers and experts on the state to amend the laws that may precede fast litigation and to swiftly handle terrorism-related cases.

In this regard, the parliament approved amendments to the Criminal Procedure Laws, to procedures of appealing before the Court of Cassation, to legal procedures concerning terrorist entities and terrorism-related crimes, and to Emergency and Anti-Terrorism law.

In addition to all the aforementioned approved laws along with others, there are still additional laws to be approved and discussed during the upcoming round. These legislations will include the Local Administration Law, Labor Law and the Law of People with Disabilities.

The parliament is the legislative authority of the country that issues laws and regulations for state entities to work under, in accordance with the Constitution. The state’s most significant and serious decisions are always forwarded by the cabinet to the parliament for discussion before the president’s ratification.

The first round of the parliament began on January 13 and included 596 members after three years of absence, and for the first time during President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s presidency.

Among the top priorities of the 2016 parliament were issuing and amending a number of new and old laws to meet the people’s demands addressed during the 25 January and 30 June Revolutions.


 
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