File- Former Shura council headquarters downtown Cairo- Egypt Today
CAIRO – 10 May 2019: Egypt’s House of Representatives is preparing the draft law of recently-reinstated upper house of the Parliament, the Senate, which was known as Shura Council and was dissolved in 2012.
The reinstatement of the Egyptian Senate was one of the newly-suggested amendments to constitutions and was approved by 44 percent of eligible Egyptian voters in a public referendum last month. A new chapter that regulates the Egyptian Senate was added to the amended constitution.
As per the initial draft of the Senate Law, the Senate shall be asked about its opinion in any amendments to the constitution, the general plan for the social and economic development, and in all agreements regarding sovereignty rights.
Moreover, the council members shall be asked about their opinion in any topic referred by the president and relates with the state’s general policy and Arab and foreign policies.
Members of the Senate shall not be less than 180 senators. One-third of the council members will be appointed by the president, while the other two-thirds will be elected by direct vote. Also, the election of the Senate shall be conducted every five years.
The first session of the council shall convene on Oct. 3 at the president’s invitation. In case the president did not call for holding the first session, it will be held automatically as per the constitution.
The president shall call on the council member to convene for emergency or upon a letter signed by ten members.
As for the council internal regulation, the council shall elect a president and two deputies at the first session. The sessions shall be held publically. However, the president, prime minister, the Senate speaker, or 20 members have the right to call for holding secret sessions. Two-thirds of the council members have the final saying whether the proposed topic shall be discussed publically or secretly.
The president has no right to dissolve the Senate unless it was necessary to dissolve it and upon a reasoned decision, and after holding a public referendum on the council dissolution.
Candidacy for the Senate and Membership
The draft law stipulates that a senator shall not be a member at the House of Representatives simultaneously. The candidate shall be an Egyptian citizen, who has all civilian and political rights. He also shall obtain an academic degree or its equivalence. He shall not be under the age of 35 at the time of candidacy.
As for the senator’s membership, the Court of Cassation is the only body specialized to consider the membership. Appeals against the final results of the Senate election candidates shall be referred to the Court of Cassation within 60 days since the issuance of final results.
The member shall not buy or rent in person or by any means state’s properties. He also shall submit his financial report annually to the Central Auditing Organization (CAO). In case he received a gift due to his membership, the gifted object will be state-owned.
Senator’s membership may be withdrawn in case he lost the confidence or he stopped doing his duties for which he was elected or appointed. The membership withdrawal shall be approved by the two-thirds of the council members.
As for the resignation, the senator shall submit his/her written resignation to the council. However, he/she also has no right to resign after the council start taking the procedures of withdrawing his membership.
Senate members will enjoy complete immunity. In case any member was caught in flagrante delicto, a legal action could be taken against him/her with the presence of a prior warrant from the council.
Additional reporting by Hoda Abo Bakr