Mahlab presides over 1st dialogue session to amend parliament elections law
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: A committee tasked with amending laws regulating parliamentary elections is scheduled to convene its first community dialogue session Thursday, Youm7 reported.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab along with representatives of 11 political parties and several public figures are scheduled to be present during the meeting to discuss amendments to the electoral district and political participation laws.

The meeting will take place at headquarters of the House of Representatives in downtown Cairo.

Representatives of the political parties will have the chance to take the first look at the draft laws and “agree on a common vision for the election laws in accordance with the constitution,” said Mahlab, according to Youm7.

Egypt’s parliamentary elections, which had been scheduled to kick off March 22, were indefinitely postponed after the Supreme Constitutional Court (HCC) ruled in March  the unconstitutionality of articles concerning electoral districts and political participation laws.

The three laws, essential to hold the parliamentary elections, were rejected by several political parties, and several political analysts expected the SCC’s rulings.

Following the military-backed ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, then-Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced a roadmap that set a timeline for the country’s political events. Sisi said the roadmap would initiated with drafting a new constitution and be followed by conducting parliamentary elections, and then presidential elections, respectively.

The constitution was adopted in January 2014 but the then-interim President Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree that swapped the order of the parliamentary and presidential elections.

According to the 2014 constitution, there should have been only an interval of six months between the two elections. A presidential decree to form the High Elections Committee (HEC) within the timeframe was announced by state bodies as the effective beginning of parliament elections.

The new date of the parliamentary race has not been determined yet but several politicians have ruled out it will be held before Ramadan (month in which Muslims fast), which is likely to begin June 18 and end in July 16.

“It would be a disaster if the elections are postponed until after Ramadan. And I hoped to see jurists and politicians in the committee preparing the election laws,” founder of the Free Egyptians Party and business tycoon Naguib Sawiris said in an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm.

“The legislative reform committee should have consulted political parties before devising those laws. The Free Egyptians Party had warned that banning candidates of dual nationality from voting violates the Constitution. We also had reservations on the districting process. We want laws whose constitutionality would not later be challenged,” he added.

Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation Minister Mohamed Amin El-Mahdy has stated that Mahlab set April 7 for the second community dialogue session.

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