Monday,23 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1362, (28 September - 4 October 2017)
Monday,23 October, 2017
Issue 1362, (28 September - 4 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Parliament gets down to business

The new parliamentary session is expected to begin next Wednesday, Gamal Essam El-Din reports

 

Parliament gets down to business
Parliament gets down to business

The House of Representatives is expected to begin its third legislative session on 4 October.

Article 115 of the 2014 constitution obliges the president to invite parliament to convene before the first Sunday of the month of October every year.

Next week’s opening plenary meeting will be largely procedural.

“The speaker, his two deputies and the spokespersons of political parties will give speeches followed by the speaker asking MPs to hold separate meetings to elect officers for the House of Representatives’ 25 committees,” Salah Fawzi, a professor of constitutional law and a parliamentary advisor, told reporters.

A senior government official — the prime minister or minister of state of parliamentary affairs — should also attend the opening meeting to address MPs on the government’s preparations for the new legislative season and say when the government will submit its annual policy statement.

The cabinet intends to submit up to 30 draft laws in its new session, according to Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan.

The cabinet issued a statement last week saying it will also submit a review of the government’s economic performance in the first six months of this year.

“The president can also deliver a speech before parliament at the beginning of each session,” says Fawzi.

The procedural session will be followed by MPs electing leading officials to the House’s 25 committees. Fawzi says “the results of the elections could be announced in a plenary meeting on the same day or the day following.”

Osama Heikal, head of the Media, Culture and Antiquities Committee, told reporters his own committee’s agenda will be dominated by discussions of a new press law.

Changes to the local councils and the criminal procedures law are also expected to be the subject of animated debates.

Dahlia Youssef, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said MPs would conduct a number of foreign visits in the new session. “Parliamentary delegations plan to visit the US and the UK to open personal discussions with their counterparts on political developments in Egypt.”

Youssef is head of the Egyptian-British Parliamentary Friendship Association.

Independent MP Abdel-Moneim Al-Oleimi told Al-Ahram Weekly the coming session is likely to be contentious.

“New MPs now have two sessions’ worth of experience under their belts and are more equipped to exercise their supervisory duties. One sign of this is that far more candidates have put themselves forward for committee posts,” he says.

Al-Oleimi also expects that draft laws regulating national press organisations, local councils and criminal procedures will be among the most significant pieces of legislation to come before MPs.

“If passed, the new local councils law will pave the way for holding long-awaited municipal elections,” said Al-Oleimi. “The criminal procedures law is expected to radically overhaul judicial institutions and the new press law will help rebuild the national press institutions and improve their economic performance.”

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