Parliamentary elections law facing ‘obstacles’
The Egyptian parliament in Cairo - AFP
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: After months of controversy concerning the delay of the parliamentary elections law, which some have considered an abuse of power by the state, Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim el-Henedy declared yesterday that there were “obstacles” to the issuing of the law.

“These are unacceptable justifications. The government is deliberately delaying elections; assuming more power and less monitoring of the government’s performance, which is the task of the parliament,” politician and head of the Democratic Generation Party Nagy el-Shehaby told The Cairo Post Wednesday.

The final settlement on redrawing the borders of certain Egyptian governorates makes it “problematic” for a law on parliamentary constituency divisions to be issued, Henedy said Tuesday in a committee meeting, reported Youm7.

Henedy is the representative of the Ministers’ Cabinet committee for legislative reform, in charge of finalizing the law and presenting it to the presidency for official approval so that the High Parliamentary Elections Committee (HPEC) could start organizing elections.

The HPEC was officially assigned to begin its work in mid-July by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, but it needs the constituency law to be finalized first.

Shehaby said the government is now assuming both legislative and executive powers and therefore it is “in the best interests of the current government to keep postponing parliamentary elections.”

Parliamentary elections were supposed to be held within six months of passing the constitution, which occurred in mid-January. In late August, a member of the Social Democratic Party hinted to The Cairo Post that elections would not be held before February or March 2015.

Sisi recently confirmed what government officials have been claiming in response to the allegations, saying there was no intention to postpone the elections, which would be held “on time,” in his speech on National Farmer’s Day Sept. 18.

No specific time frame has ever been set by the presidency or the cabinet. “The president’s words were once more vague,” Shehaby commented.

The new constitution put the parliament in a challenging position to the president. The parliament shall decide the public economic and social development plan, and decisions that have been carried out by the prime minister and the president so far. The president cannot dissolve the parliament without a public referendum, and members of the parliament must approve the appointment of the government.

According to constructional article no. 102, the president appoints only five percent of parliament members. But article no. 131 gave the parliament utmost power by allowing it to take the decision to withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister or any minister or government official based on a vote of the majority.

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