Egypt's House of Representatives members voted by standing for the judiciary authority law - Egypt Today - Hazem Abdel - Samad
CAIRO - 27 April 2017: The crisis between Egypt’s judges and its House of Representatives has deepened after the latter passed a controversial law broadening presidential powers by allowing the president to appoint the president of the country’s top judicial councils.
Parliament approved a number of draft laws during a plenary session Wednesday, including the law of judicial authority, although the State Council had previously notified the House of Representatives about the judges’ rejection of the law. The judges’ opinion, however, is advisory not obligatory.
The State Council is an independent judiciary body authorized, among other things, to revise any law drafted by the parliament.
The newly-passed law stipulates that the president would have the right to appoint the heads of the Court of Cassation, the Administrative Control Authority (ACA), the State Council and the State Lawsuits Authority. The judicial authority’s legal norm has been for the judiciary body’s council to elect the oldest appointed judge as president.
The Judge’s Club of the State Council sent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi a letter to intervene to stop the newly-passed Electing Heads of Judiciary Authorities law.
“The House of Representatives has approved on the law of Electing Heads of Judiciary Authorities in a manner that violates the constitution and lacks the Egyptian judiciary independence, which you are keen to guarantee,” the letter says.
According to Egyptian legal procedures concerning passing any law, the parliament shall refer the approved bill to the president for ratification, and then the law comes in to force by the time it has been published in the official newspaper.
In a statement Wednesday, the Judge’s Club said that although the House was notified of the judges’ disapproval of the law, which they say contradicts the principle of separation of power, it passed.
However, parliamentarian Shadi Abu el-Ela, a member of the House’s Legislative Committee, said the new law is constitutional, adding that it is an administratively-regulating system and is unrelated to the judges’ duties.
Abu el-Ela added that the law respects the principle of separation of power, continuing that any judiciary body has the right to appeal the decision before the High Constitutional Court.
Additional reporting by Tamer Ismail and Mostafa el-Sayyed