Egypt’s House initially approves bill on Senate law

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Mon, 15 Jun 2020 - 06:36 GMT

Members of Parliament start voting on the newly-proposed amendments to the 2014 Constitution on Thursday- Egypt Today/Hazem abdel-Samad

Members of Parliament start voting on the newly-proposed amendments to the 2014 Constitution on Thursday- Egypt Today/Hazem abdel-Samad

CAIRO, 15 June 2020: Egypt’s House of Representatives, approved, Monday in principal a bill to issue the Senate law.

Under the bill, the Senate will be made up of 300 members, with one third to be elected through the individual candidacy system, a second third through the closed list system, and the remaining third to be named by the president.

According to the bill, women should represent at least 10 percent of the senators, and there will be 27 constituencies for the individual candidacy system, and four constituencies for the closed list system.

The senator's term of office will be five years and it will start as of the first meeting of the
Senate.

The candidate, according to the bill, should be of Egyptian nationality, have performed the military service, enjoy his political and civil rights and have a university degree.

The Senate will be tasked with making suggestions on how to promote democracy and social peace, as well as maintaining values and freedoms in the society.

It will also give its opinion on suggestions to amend the constitution, the draft plan for social and economic development, and peace and alliance conventions.

The president may also seek the opinion of the Senate on issues related to the State's general policy and its Arab and foreign affairs.

On June 13, Parliamentary sources said Egypt is set to hold the first elections for the newly established Senate in August which was created as part of the 2019 constitutional amendments.

Elections for the lower house, the House of Representatives, will be held in November as previously scheduled, the sources added.

After approving the constitutional amendments in the April 2019 referendum, the lower house of parliament was brought back to life.

Another upper house is known as the Shura Council, the role of which was largely advisory, was abolished in 2014.

The parliament was to discuss on June 14, a draft bill on the formation and election of the Senate and draft amendments to the law of the House of Representatives.

The Senate shall be concerned with studying and proposing what it sees as a tool to consolidate democracy, support national unity, social peace, the basic values of society, supreme values, rights, freedoms, and public duties, and deepen and expand the democratic system, according to the Constitution.

On June 14, the Support Egypt Coalition at the House of Representatives drafted a law setting rules for the establishment and operation of the senate and that includes conditions that must be met by the president when appointing one third of members of the upper chamber.

Article 28 of the draft bill reviewed by the House of Representatives' Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee provides those conditions that are:

- The president shall nominate candidates after the conclusion of the elections and before the Senate convenes.

- The criteria that apply to candidates running for election must apply to candidates nominated by the president.

- The president cannot nominate more than one candidate from the same political party.
- The president cannot nominate a candidate from the political party he had held its membership before taking office.

- The president cannot nominate a candidate who lost the elections of the same Senate.
- The president has to take into consideration that women must make up 10 percent of the Senate's members.

Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee Bahaa Abu Shoqa told press that the bill does not include any violations of the constitution or laws. The parliamentarian added that the committee has communicated with the National Elections Authority for consultation in accordance with Article 208 of the constitution and Article 26 of the authority's law.


MENA contributed to reporting

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