Government amends election laws

In its meeting on Sunday, the cabinet endorsed amendments to laws governing the People’s Assembly, the Shura Council and electoral constituencies. It also increased the number of parliamentary seats allocated for list-based candidacy in upcoming elections from 50 to 66 percent of total seats, and reduced those allocated for the single-winner system from 50 to 34 percent.

It restructured electoral constituencies, and submitted the amendments to the military council to decide on within the coming few hours.

The meeting witnessed many differences over articles, especially Article V that restricts individual seats to independent candidates, those not fielded by political parties.

Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said the majority voted to keep the article unchanged. “I personally believe it’s unconstitutional,” he said.

A judicial source said Major General Mamdouh Shahin, member of the military council, had attended a meeting of the Justice Ministry’s legislative committee on Thursday, which was also attended by the ministers of justice, education and health. The meeting discussed the possibility of allocating two thirds of parliamentary seats to closed list-based candidacies and one third to those running under the single-winner system, provided that the first names listed in the party-based candidacy lists be of professionals – followed by workers and farmers – and that each list contain at least one female candidate, and only one mascot.

The source also said that candidates who change their classifications would be disqualified from elections.

In related news, the Justice Ministry has completed the treachery law for the military council to approve. Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had requested Justice Minister Mohamed al-Guindy to instate a penalty for Mubarak regime remnants for having corrupted political life.

People’s Assembly seats were reduced from 504 to 498. There are now 46 electoral constituencies with list-based candidacies and 83 single-winner slots nationwide, while Shura Council seats were reduced from 390 to 270.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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