Cabinet races to finalize parliamentary elections law

The Cabinet is racing time to pass the draft law on parliamentary elections. 

Hamdeen Sabbahi’s Popular Current Party said the bill should not be passed before consensus is reached between political forces. However, the Shura Council’s legislative committee approved a number of new amendments to the law on Thursday.

Prime Minister Hesham Qandil said the law must be ready 15 days at the latest after the approval of the new Constitution, which President Mohamed Morsy officially signed on 25 December 2012.

The Cabinet will submit the parliamentary elections draft law to the Shura Council next week. After discussing the bill, the Shura Council in turn will submit it to the Supreme Constitutional Court for review. 

The Shura Council began exercising its newly acquired legislative role on Thursday. The legislation committee held a session to discuss three proposals submitted by the Freedom Justice Party, Nour Party and Wasat Party on the parliamentary elections law.

Committee head Mohamed Toson said that he contacted some political parties not represented in the council to listen to their opinion on the new law.

Ahmed Salam, adviser to the justice minister, said the Cabinet would submit the bill to the Shura Council next week.

The Popular Current's board agreed in a closed-door meeting Thursday evening to participate in the parliamentary elections on condition political consensus between all forces is reached on the draft law. The board rejected what it called attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to develop the law so as to achieve its own objectives in the elections.

Sabbahi criticized the national dialogue sessions held by President Mohamed Morsy, saying it neglected the proposal submitted by the National Rescue Front on the parliamentary elections law.

Participants in the national dialogue agreed on amendments on Tuesday to the draft, but some say changes are not significant enough and do not offer solutions to the complexities of the current electoral system.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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