Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council, has no authority to appoint members to the Shura Council, the upper house of Parliament, the high elections commission ruled on Thursday. Shura Council elections commence Sunday.
According to last March’s constitutional declaration, which governs Egypt during the transitional period, two-thirds of council members are to be elected by the public, and at least 50 percent must be workers and farmers, while the president is to appoint the remaining one-third of its members.
“The president of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has no authority to appoint one-third of the council members,” Abdel Moez Ibrahim, head of the elections commission, said in a press conference.
“The council will operate with its elected members only until the president is elected,” Ibrahim added.
Tantawi appointed 10 members to the People's Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, which held its first meeting on Monday.
Under former President Hosni Mubarak, the Shura Council did not have a strong role in legislating. Rather, it reviewed draft laws and submitted recommendations on them before referring them to the People's Assembly. These limitations remained unchanged in the system laid out by the March constitutional declaration.
Shura Council elections are scheduled to be held in two phases, on 29 and 30 January and 14 and 15 February. Runoffs for the first stage are scheduled for 7 February and the second stage for 22 February.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm