Draft law suggests modifying electoral districts after introduction of list system in Egyptian House of Representatives elections

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Sun, 16 Aug 2020 - 07:22 GMT

FILE – Egyptian House of Representatives

FILE – Egyptian House of Representatives

CAIRO – 17 August 2020: The amendments promulgated in June to the House of Representatives Elections Bill introduced the list system substituting the 540 seats of individuals with 284 seats of individuals and 284 seats of members who ran on parties or coalitions' lists.

 

The rationale behind the change is complying with Article 102 of the Egyptian constitution providing that women must compose at least 25 percent of the lower chamber's members, and Articles 234 and 244 stating that workers, farmers, youth, Christians, expats, and the disabled have to get an appropriate representation.

 

Another reason is ensuring the integrity of choice so as "voters would not be influenced by either a promise [to get a direct benefit] or a threat [to be deprived of a benefit or have their direct interests harmed]." Citizens are also expected to be more motivated to cast ballots in elections given they will be voting for multiple individuals on a larger scale. Moreover, their choice will be backed by the lists' programs and goals, and not how each candidate may be perceived.  

 

That is why a draft law is being reviewed by the House of Representatives to modify the number of electoral districts. The draft suggests reducing voting districts for individual candidates to 143 from 205, while setting the figure for lists at 4 legislative districts.  

 

Those are Cairo, South and Middle Delta District encompassing Cairo, Qalyoubiyah, Daqahliyah, Menoufeya, Gharbia, and Kafr El Sheikh governorates; North, Middle, and South Upper Egypt District consisting of Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Menya, Asyut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, and the Red Sea governorates; Eastern Delta District having Sharqeya, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailiyah, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai governorates; and, Western Delta District including Alexandria, Beheira, and Matrouh governorates.

 

Parliamentary life began in Egypt as early as 1866, and since then several forms of national assemblies have been formed, dismantled and amended to reach the present-day form. Since 1866, Egypt witnessed seven parliamentary systems whose legislative and oversight competences varied and reflected the history of the Egyptian people's struggle to establish a society based on democracy and freedom. For more than 135 years of parliamentary history Egypt witnessed 32 Parliaments whose members ranged between 75 and 458 who contributed to writing Egypt's modern political social, economic and cultural history.

 

The House of Representatives has various competences stated in Chapter Five of the Constitution. According to Article 86, the House of Representatives shall undertake:

Legislation Review and approval of agreements and treaties

Review and approval of the State plan and budget

Discussion of the president of the Republic's statement and the government program

Amendments to the ConstitutionApproval of declarations of war and emergency

The House of Representatives Speaker presides over the House and is elected from the House membership, along with two deputies during the first session of the season.

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