CAIRO – 8 July 2018: The Parliament will conclude its third round on July 15 after giving its final say on the new government's program, which pushed the discussion of some draft laws to the fourth round due in October.
A parliamentary committee has been formed to review the policy statement and the new government’s program, delivered by Mostafa Madbouly before the Parliament on July 3. The committee should prepare a comprehensive report on the statement and submit it to the Parliament to discuss it during the plenary session.
According to Article 146 of Egypt’s 2016 Constitution, a newly appointed prime minister should deliver a policy statement before the Parliament and this statement should gain a vote of confidence within 30 days.
"If the statement failed to gain a vote of confidence within the required 30 days, Parliament would be considered dissolved and a new Parliament would be elected within sixty days," Article 146 states.
During its third round, the Parliament held 120 plenary sessions and 2000 subcommittee’s sessions and voted on 400 laws, according to the Parliament’s spokesperson.
In this regard, Chairman of the Legislative Committee Bahaa Abu Shata said that the third round was supposed to be concluded on June 30, according to the Parliament's internal regulations, but it was extended to July 15 to make its final decision on the government’s statement.
In the same context, Chairman of the Committee of Information, Culture and Antiquities in the House of Representatives, Osama Heikal, referred that the plenary session on Sunday, July 15, will declare the Parliament’s decision on the government’s statement and program.
The current session will postpone the discussions on some draft laws to its fourth round, including the local administrative law, criminal procedures law, building violations law, the new labor law, and the new traffic law.
Local Administrative draft law
The government plans to reactivate the municipal councils that were dissolved during the 2011 revolution for being loaded with corruption and supporters of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
Political parties are preparing for the local government election, slated to take place at the end of 2018 or the early beginnings of 2019, as announced by Speaker of the Parliament Ali Abdel Aal. The local elections will take place after the local administrative draft law is passed by the Parliament.
The Ministry of Local Development has reportedly allocated specific portions from its 2018/2019 budget to local councils, implying the government’s intention to permit municipal councils to work once again, MP Yousry al-Asiouty, member of the parliamentary committee for local development, said in press remarks on May 4.
Labor draft law
The new labor law is important because it achieves a significant guarantee for nearly 26 million laborers working in the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs); it provides them with security and preserves their rights. The bill guarantees resignation will not be accredited unless the Manpower Ministry approves and there will be no dismissal without a court verdict.
The law encourages young people to work in the private sector and maximizes their role in promoting the national economy. It also provides a safe environment for laborers through a clear contract between them and the employer.
The bill will include the creation of new labor courts to speed-up litigation processes. It provides the opportunity for better training and education, ensuring the rights of working women and people with special needs.
Additionally, women working in the private sector will be granted the right to a four-month maternity leave like those working in the public sector, in accordance with the Civil Service Law. This leave shall be granted twice during a woman's period of service.
The bill guarantees that the daily working hours of pregnant women shall be reduced by at least one hour starting from the sixth month of pregnancy. Moreover, no additional working hours shall be allowed for women during their pregnancy period and the six months following childbirth.
New Personal status draft law
The draft law is among the priorities of the next Parliament’s session as it tackles different aspects of social issues, such as divorce cases, and regularizes the situation between family members in the case of divorce in a way that works for the best interest of children.
The draft law has been criticized; hence, the Parliament’s Legislative Committee will hold hearings with counselors, lawyers and employees in family courts, in addition to hearings with families affected by the current Personal Status Law, in collaboration with the concerned civil organizations, to amend the current law.
Criminal Procedures law
The government has forwarded in July, 2017, a draft law of 320 articles, aiming to amend Egypt’s Criminal Procedure Law, which is known as the country’s second constitution, to the Parliament for discussion, which will mark the first full amendment of the law since the 1950s.
The law originally consisted of 560 articles, and has been summarized to 320 articles. The draft includes 44 newly added articles and 150 replaced articles.
Over the past few years, the law has witnessed a total of 20 partial amendments, but has never been fully amended, stated the Cabinet in July, according to state-run Al Ahram newspaper. In November 2014, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi approved amending the law in absence of the Parliament, which had resumed its session in 2016. Moreover, a number of articles were previously amended in 2003.
The draft law aims to reach regulations that are appropriate for criminal procedures, as there are “defects and obstacles in the current proceedings in Egyptian courts” due to the presence of “sterile laws”, the privately-owned Shorouk newspaper reported.
The draft law will ensure limiting the obstacles hindering the process of fast litigation.
Water Resources and Irrigation draft law
The 138-article draft law aims to label encroachment as a felony, punishable by prison, not as a misdemeanor; it also aims at preserving water resources, according to Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation's statement on the draft law in June. Encroachments include illegal construction on the Nile banks, unlicensed fish farming, illegal disposal of industrial waste and other forms of pollution.
The draft law deals with public properties, private businesses and facilities run by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.
The bill comes as part of the government's keenness to achieve the utmost use of water resources to meet the needs of citizens and face any future challenges.