Parliament vote on constitutional amendments - photo by Khaled Mashaal
CAIRO – 7 June 2020: The Egyptian Parliament’s legislative committee on Sunday gave a preliminary approval on a draft law on the formation of the country’s reinstated Senate, in accordance with the 2019 constitutional amendments.
The approval came after the draft law has been widely hailed by the committee’s members, who affirmed that it complies with the constitutional articles in light of the latest amendments.
MP Saeed Al-Aboudi has described this day as “historical” due to Sunday’s vote on the draft law. MP Sami Ramadan says the formation of the upper house of the Parliament will contribute to achieving the public interest.
The Senate shall be concerned with studying and proposing what it sees as a tool to consolidate democracy, support national unity, social peace, the basic values of society, supreme values, rights, freedoms and public duties, and deepen and expand the democratic system, according to the Constitution.
The latest amendments of the draft law on the Senate and the House have fulfilled all constitutional conditions and legal standards, said Parliament Member Abdel Hady Al-Qassabi, the head of the coalition.
According to the amendments, the Senate will consist of 300 members, one third of them will be elected through electoral lists, the second third will be elected individually, and the last third will be directly chosen by the country’s president.
The reinstatement of the Senate was one of the newly-suggested amendments to the Constitution last year and was approved by 44 percent of eligible Egyptian voters in a public referendum in April. A new chapter that regulates the Egyptian Senate was added to the amended Constitution.
Mission of Senate
As per the initial draft of the Senate Law, the Senate shall be asked about its opinion in any amendments to the constitution, the general plan for the social and economic development, and in all agreements regarding sovereignty rights.
Moreover, the council members shall be asked about their opinion in any topic referred by the president and relates with the state’s general policy and Arab and foreign policies.
Members of the Senate shall not be less than 180 senators. One-third of the council members will be appointed by the president, while the other two-thirds will be elected by direct vote. Also, the election of the Senate shall be conducted every five years.
As for the council internal regulation, the council shall elect a president and two deputies at the first session. The sessions shall be held in public. However, the president, prime minister, the Senate speaker, or 20 members have the right to call for holding secret sessions. Two-thirds of the council members have the final saying whether the proposed topic shall be discussed in public or secretly.
Candidacy for Senate, Membership
The draft law stipulates that a senator shall not be a member at the House of Representatives simultaneously. The candidate shall be an Egyptian citizen, who has all civilian and political rights. He also shall obtain an academic degree or its equivalence. He shall not be under the age of 35 at the time of candidacy.
As for the senator’s membership, the Court of Cassation is the only body specialized to consider the membership. Appeals against the final results of the Senate election candidates shall be referred to the Court of Cassation within 60 days since the issuance of final results.
The member shall not buy or rent in person or by any means state’s properties. He also shall submit his financial report annually to the Central Auditing Organization (CAO). In case he received a gift due to his membership, the gifted object will be state-owned.
Senator’s membership may be withdrawn in case he lost the confidence or he stopped doing his duties for which he was elected or appointed. The membership withdrawal shall be approved by the two-thirds of the council members.
As for the resignation, the senator shall submit his/her written resignation to the council. However, he/she also has no right to resign after the council start taking the procedures of withdrawing his membership.
Senate members will enjoy complete immunity. In case any member was caught in flagrante delicto, a legal action could be taken against him/her with the presence of a prior warrant from the council.
Additional reporting by Hoda Abo Bakr