Egypt’s New Electoral Districts Law Will Be Subject To National Dialogue: Minister

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