Parliament of Egypt
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|Parliament of Egypt|
(454 and 264)
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The Parliament of Egypt is a bicameral legislature. The Parliament is located in Cairo, Egypt's capital. Under the country's 1971 constitution, as the legislative branch of the Egyptian state the Parliament enacted laws, approved the general policy of the State, the general plan for economic and social development and the general budget of the State, supervised the work of the government, and had the power to vote to impeach the President of the Republic, or replace the government and its Prime Minister by a vote of no-confidence.
Elections to the lower house, the People's Assembly, took place between November 2011 and January 2012, followed by elections to the upper house, the Shura Council. Under Egypt's temporary constitution, the People's Assembly elected in these elections will have legislative powers and will be able to interpellate ministers. It will not, however, have the power to remove the government or prime minister, who are answerable primarily to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The Parliament formed a 100-member committee (Constituent Assembly of Egypt) to draft a new constitution.
History and composition
Parliamentary life began in Egypt as early as 1866, and since then several forms of national assemblies have been formed, dismantled and amended to reach the present-day form. Since 1866, Egypt witnessed seven parliamentary systems whose legislative and oversight competences varied and reflected the history of the Egyptian people's struggle to establish a society based on democracy and freedom. For more than 135 years of parliamentary history Egypt witnessed 32 Parliaments whose members ranged between 75 and 458 who contributed to writing Egypt's modern political social, economic and cultural history. According to the present-day constitution, the Parliament comprises the following two legislative houses or chambers:
- The House of Representatives ("Maǧlis an-Nowwab"), a 588-member lower house.
- The Egyptian Shura Council ("Maǧlis aš-Šūrā al-Maṣrī"), a 264-member upper house.
The Parliament meets for one nine-month session each year: under special circumstances the President of the Republic can call an additional session. Even though the powers of the Parliament have increased since the 1980 Amendments of the Constitution, many still argue that the Parliament continues to lack the powers to effectively balance the powers of the President.
With the 2011 Egyptian revolution the Parliament was dissolved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on February 11, 2011.
The People's Assembly is the lower house and was formed in 1971 as a result of the adoption of the new constitution. The Assembly is made up of 454 deputies, 444 of whom are directly elected while the remaining 10 are appointed by the President of the Republic. The Constitution reserves 50 percent of the Assembly's seats for "workers and farmers", one per each two seat constituency. The Assembly sits for a five-year term but can be dissolved earlier by the president. All seats are voted on in each election.
The Shura Council is the upper house. Its name roughly translates into English as "the Consultative Council". The Council was created in 1980 through a constitutional amendment. The Council is composed of 264 members of which 174 members are directly elected and the 88 are appointed by the President of the Republic for six-year terms. Membership is rotating, with one half of the Council renewed every three years. The Shura Council's legislative powers are limited. On most matters of legislation, the People's Assembly retains the last word in the event of a disagreement between the two houses. The Shura council 130-year-old building was completely burnt on August 19, 2008.
- "Seats in Egypt’s parliament increased for third time in a year". Ahram Online. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- Fahmy, Mohamed. "Egypt's president calls back dissolved parliament". CNN. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
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