|Egyptian Shura Council
مجلس الشورى المصرى
Maǧlis aš-Šūrā al-Maṣrī
|Speaker||Ahmed Fahmy, FJP
Since 28 February 2012
|Deputy Speaker||Tarek Sahri, Al-Nour Party|
|Deputy Speaker||Mustafa Hammouda, Wafd Party|
|Shura Council chamber of the Egyptian Parliament building, Cairo, Egypt|
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The Shura Council (Arabic: مجلس الشورى, pronounced [ˈmæɡles eʃˈʃuːɾˤɑ], "consultative council") is the upper house of Egyptian bicameral Parliament. Its name roughly translates into English as "the Consultative Council". The lower house of parliament is the House of Representatives. In the 2012 draft for a new constitution, they are called "Shura Council" and "House of Representatives", respectively.
The Shura Council was created in 1980 through a Constitutional Amendment. The Council is composed of 264 members of which 176 members are directly elected and 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 were limited until the Egyptian constitution gave it the power to legislate after the parliament was dissolved. It holds that power until a new House of Representatives is elected.
A legal challenge concerning the constitutionality of the Shura Council was to have been considered on 2 December 2012 by the High Constitutional Court. The court postponed the verdict in response to protests. Mohamed Morsi's constitutional declaration issued in November 2012 bars the Shura Council from being dissolved by the judiciary. The constitutional declaration issued by Morsi in December of 2012 allows the Shura Council to be dissolved by the judiciary. The High Constitutional Court referred the lawsuit to the State Commissioners' Board, which is the advisory board of the High Constitutional Court, on 15 January 2013. The board of commissioners will review the lawsuit on 10 February 2013; after lawyers give the required documents, the board will create a report on the constitutionality of the election law. The report was received 22 April 2013. The formation of the Shura Council was ruled unconstitutional on 2 June 2013; however, it will not be dissolved until a new House of Representatives is elected.
The Shura Council must be made up of 264 members, two thirds of the council (176) is elected by a direct ballot, and half of the Council must be farmers or workers, the remaining third (88) is appointed by the President of the Republic. Under article 128 of the draft constitution, there will be at least 150 members in the Shura Council.
Term of membership and activities
The term membership of the Shura Council is six years. According to article 130 of the draft constitution, members would only have a term membership of six years. In addition, the president would not be able to appoint any more than 1/10th of the amount of elected members, according to article 128. However, renewed election and appointment of 50% of the total number of members is required every three years, and it is always possible to re-elect or re-appoint those members whose membership has expired. The Constitution has provided many guarantees whereby the Council is able to carry out its tasks and activities. Such Guarantees include:
- The Council may not be dissolved except by a Presidential decree and only in case of necessity.
- Members of the Council have parliamentary immunity.
In accordance with the law, any candidate wishing to be elected to the Shura Council should meet the following conditions:
- Hold the Egyptian nationality as well as being the son/daughter of an Egyptian national.
- Be not less than 35 years old upon election or nomination. (40 in the 2012 constitution draft)
- Have completed military service or be exempted therefrom.
The Shura Council member is elected by the absolute majority of valid votes cast in the elections.
Although the powers of the Shura Council are not as extensive or effective as the People’s Assembly, its jurisdiction as provided by Articles (194) and (195) of the Constitution covers the studying and proposing of what is deemed necessary to preserve the principles of the July 23rd revolution and the May 15th, 1971 Corrective Revolution. The Shura Council is to be consulted on the following (Article 195):
The council must ratify:
- Constitutional amendment bills.
- All treaties or agreements affecting Egypt’s territorial integrity or sovereignty.
In case of disagreements with the People’s Assembly, a combined committee is formed composed of both chambers’ chairmen and seven members from each chamber. The proposed bill is reconsidered in both chambers. If either still disagrees, the issue is once again in a joint session of both chambers to reach a common statement.
The council is considered on a consultative capacity for:
- Drafts, and general plans for social and economic development.
- Bills referred to the Council by the President of the Republic.
- All matters relating to the state’s general policy or international issues referred to the Shura Council by the President of the Republic.
In this case, the council submits its decision to the president and the People’s Assembly.
The constituent assembly has given the Shura Council the power to issue legislation until a new lower house of parliament is elected.
There are currently many recognized political parties covering a broad political spectrum. However, the formation of political parties based on religion is prohibited by the Constitution. Opposition and political pressure groups, like the Muslim Brotherhood, are active in Egypt and make their views public, and they are represented at various levels in the political system.
The November 2000 parliamentary elections are generally regarded to have been more transparent and better executed than past elections. This is due to the new law put into force establishing universal judicial monitoring of polling stations. On the other hand, opposition parties continue to lodge credible complaints about electoral manipulation by the government. There are significant restrictions on the political process and freedom of expression for non-governmental organizations, including professional syndicates and organizations promoting respect for human rights.
|Freedom and Justice Party||2,894,922||45.04||56||49||105|
|New Wafd Party||543,417||8.45||14||0||14|
|Democratic Peace Party||95,273||1.48||1||0||1|
On 19 August 2008, a huge fire seriously damaged most of the 19th-century palace that houses the Shura Council in Cairo. At least thirteen people were hurt in the fire, which destroyed the parliamentary archive room and several meeting chambers.
According to the Egyptian Channel 1, 99% of the documents have been destroyed in the fire.
On 21 November 2009, President Mubarak inaugurated the new Shura Council Building, which was renovated by Al Mokaweloon Al Arab.
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