After chairing a meeting of a technical committee entrusted with finalising Egypt’s new electoral districts law, Minister of Transitional Justice and House of Representatives Affairs, Ibrahim El-Heneidy indicated that the long-awaited law will not be ratified by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi until it gains support from political parties in a national dialogue.
Addressing parliamentary reporters after the committee’s first meeting which ended in the later hours of Tuesday, El-Heneidy agreed that redrafting the electoral districts law is the last obstacle before parliamentary elections.
“I know that everyone in Egypt realises that this law must first be issued so that parliamentary polls can be held,” said Al-Heneidy, adding that “for this reason, we want to finalise the drafting process as soon as possible, but not before it gains some kind of consensus among political forces,” the minister said.
According to El-Heneidy, “once the semi-final draft of the law is issued, political forces will be able to give their opinions on it.”
El-Heneidy added that “they will be able to submit their remarks and proposed amendments of the draft via email, fax or manually within a period of two to three weeks.”
El-Heneidy indicated that the law will be based on the fact that Egypt includes 27 governorates. “We know that three new governorates were added, but this will not change our work which seeks to ensure that the new law does not contravene the new constitution,” said El-Heneidy.
El-Heneidy also explained that while former president Adly Mansour was in office, a technical committee was formed to prepare the law.
“This committee has come a long way in preparing the law, but it stopped after President El-Sisi was elected last May,” said El-Heneidy. He added that ”we will review the work of [former presidentp Mansour’s committee, making sure it observes the constitution in terms of balancing both the area and population of constituencies.”
The meeting on Tuesday came after Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab announced on 14 October that a technical seven-member committee was formed to put forth the semi-final draft of the electoral districts law. The committee, led by El-Heneidy, also includes Mahlab’s advisor for legislative and security affairs Rifaat Qomsan, deputy justice minister for legislative affairs Hassan Badrawi, deputy chairman of the state council (administrative courts) Mohamed Hossam El-Din, deputy interior minister for legal affairs Ali Abdel-Moula, Ain Shams University’s professor of constitutional law Ali Abdel-Al and Mansoura University’s professor of public law Salah Eddin Fawzi.
El-Heneidy said the above committee, which meets on a weekly basis, has formed a secretariat-general entrusted with gathering all data possible on electoral districts.
According to Mahlab’s 14 October decision, the Heneidy-led committee will finish its job within three weeks so that preparations for the polls can kick-off.
Mahlab said once the law is finalised in three weeks, it will be reviewed by the State Council’s Department of Legislation and Fatwas, endorsed by the cabinet in a plenary meeting and ratified by President El-Sisi.
“All of these steps are necessary to ensure that the law is in line with the constitution and that the polls do not face a legal or constitutional setback,” said Mahlab.
El-Heneidy stressed that the delay in holding parliamentary elections should not be a cause for alarm among political parties.
“We just want to make sure that once the polls are held and the new parliament is formed, nobody will be able to raise any doubts about their legality or integrity,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Higher Election Committee (HEC), a seven-member judicial body entrusted with supervising Egypt’s parliamentary polls, has this week asked citizens to review voter lists. HEC’s spokesperson Medhat Idris said “citizens must log-on to HEC’s website to check that their names and voting centres are correct and if there is any need to update them.”
On Wednesday, the HEC also decided that mini-committees be formed in each governorate.
“Each one of these will represent the HEC in its own governorate in terms of receiving registration applications, reviewing voter lists and supervising polling stations,” said Idris.
Parliamentary elections represent the third step of a political roadmap that has been adopted by Egypt since the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 3 July, 2013.
Source : Ahram online