FILE – Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal and Bahaa Abu Shoka, head of Parliament’s Legislative Committee – Egypt Today/Khaled Mashaal FILE – Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal and Bahaa Abu Shoka, head of Parliament’s Legislative Committee – Egypt Today/Khaled Mashaal

Abdel Aal to head subcommittee to write constitutional amendments

Thu, Apr. 11, 2019
CAIRO – 11 April 2019: The Parliament’s legislative committee approved on Wednesday the formation of a subcommittee to write the final draft of the proposed constitutional amendments. The subcommittee will be headed by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

The subcommittee’s members will also include Bahaa Abu Shoka, the legislative committee’s head; MPs Ahmed Helmy al-Sherif and Nabil al-Gamal, the committee’s deputy heads; and Ihab al-Tamawi, the committee’s secretary.

The Parliament earlier gave a preliminary approval to the constitutional amendments submitted by 155 Parliament members, and soon, after the Parliament held a societal dialogue, the amendments will come up for vote in a parliamentary plenary meeting after being drafted in a final legal context.

However, the streets and public squares have been overwhelmed with banners calling on citizens to vote in the planned referendum on the amendments. Having the name of the pro-government Nation’s Future Party written on them, the banners urged people to vote in favor of the amendments.

Also, Minister of Immigration and Expats Nabila Makram announced launching a campaign to respond to the inquiries of Egyptian expats in terms of the amendments and urge them to participate in a planned referendum on these amendments.

Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy urged preparing headquarters for the planned referendum.

If the amendments are approved, presidential terms in general will be extended to six years instead of four for each of the two terms, while the incumbent president will be allowed to run for a third exceptional term. Also, heads of the judicial bodies would be appointed by the president.

Abdel Aal affirmed many times that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi did not ask for amending Article No. 140 extending the presidential term.

"I have repeatedly said … that the president did not intervene in the amendments and did not request them, but [they] were a pure parliamentary seedling … that began since the first year of the House of Representatives’ [term],” the speaker said.

The proposed amendments also include restoring Shura Council – a senate- to broaden representation at the Parliamentary Councils- after it was dissolved in 2012. The appointment of deputy president is also one of the amendments. Supporting women, Youth, Christian minority, the disabled, and the Egyptian expatriates community by solid constitutional articles are included in the amendments.

One of the amendments stipulates, “The Armed Forces are the guarantor of the democracy and civil state, and the appointment way of defense minister should be reconsidered.”
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