Deputy PM: Parliamentary elections draft law to be presented to govt

The draft law on parliamentary elections will be presented to the Egyptian government on Wednesday, said Deputy Prime Minister Yehia al-Gamal on Monday.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) offered up the draft law regulating parliamentary elections for public debate last month.

Several political movements announced their reservations on the draft law and called for the abolition of an article stating that 50 percent of seats must go to workers and farmers. The article, they said, weakened the role of Parliament. They also demanded that all members be fully aware of Parliament’s legislative role.

During his meeting in Cairo with representatives of Egyptian expatriates living in the US, Gamal did not elaborate on whether the draft law would include amendments, following the criticisms voiced by various political movements.

"It is settled that the elections will be held using the system of individual candidacy and party-list proportional representation,” said Gamal. “The only dispute now is over the individual candidacy and party-list percentages, whether one-third, two-thirds or half."

Gamal stressed the need to quickly finish the draft law as “the elections are slated for September and we are being ruled by a constitutional declaration.”

Gamal rejected the contention that some articles of the constitutional declaration were “unconstitutional”.

"The entire declaration came as a result of revolutionary legitimacy,” he said, “which dictated that the military junta would administer the country during this period.”

Meanwhile, Gamal praised the human rights bill issued by presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei.

On Sunday, ElBaradei announced his human rights bill, which he suggested should be included in the country’s new constitution. Gamal said he considered ElBaradei’s convention as "an attempt at compromise,” and said it could provide a way out of the dipute concerning which should come first, the constitution or the elections.

He went on to say, "ElBaradei is a sincere and serious man."

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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