Shura Council committee OKs parliamentary elections law 'in principle'

Shura Council committee OKs parliamentary elections law 'in principle'

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Tue, 08/01/2013 - 20:15

The Shura Council's legislative committee on Tuesday approved "in principle" the draft law on the upcoming House of Representatives elections, which will be discussed in the council’s general session on Wednesday, according to committee member Mohamed Toson.

The draft law is then set to be returned to the legislative committee to be discussed in detail at a Thursday meeting.

During the legislative committee session, MP Ramy Lakah attacked the law, saying Egypt deserves a better version.

“The draft law overlooks the rights of Egyptians, is not suitable for the 25 January revolution and the hopes of the people, and will lead to ... a real disaster during the elections,” Lakah said.

Also in dissent, MP Mamdouh Ramzy said the law should mandate Coptic Christian and female representation on each electoral list.

MP Emil Yacoub went a step further, calling for the law to include lists exclusively for Coptic candidates.

"You are not more concerned with our Coptic brothers than us," MP Hassan Elaiwa, a Salafi, said to non-Islamist members of parliament in the session.

Omar al-Sherif, an adviser to the justice minister who attended the Tuesday session, was quoted on state-run Al-Ahram newspaper’s website as saying the parliamentary elections law includes notable amendments, such as changing the name of the People’s Assembly to the House of Representatives and canceling the president’s right to appoint 10 MPs to the body.

The Shura Council will submit the bill to the Supreme Constitutional Court for review before officially approving it, Sherif added.

Participants in a national dialogue session held by the government last week agreed on amendments to the parliamentary elections law. But some observers say the changes are not significant and do not provide solutions for the complexities of the current electoral system.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm