The Shura Council will take on legislative powers if the constitution is approved in Saturday’s referendum. The transitional development was highlighted by Shura Council Chairman Ahmed Fahmy during Monday’s session, saying that the body would step into legislative control “during this critical period of Egypt’s history,” according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
Fahmy said the council would reconvene at a date to be determined later, after a decision was made by President Mohamed Morsy.
“It will not be for a long period,” he added. “If the constitution wins the approval of the Egyptian people, we will have a large legislative mandate.”
The transfer of power is detailed in the draft constitution’s transitional provisions. Article 230 states that the Shura Council will assume full legislative authority until the lower house is elected and officially formed.
Following the installment of a new House of Representatives, Egypt would elect an entirely new Shura Council within six months.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) acquired the legislative powers from the People’s Assembly when it was dissolved by the Supreme Constitutional Court in June.
Newly-elected Morsy then acquired legislative powers through his 12 August constitutional declaration.
The Shura Council, whose legitimacy was challenged in the Supreme Constitutional Court, was protected by Morsy’s constitutional declaration on 22 November. However, Morsy’s second declaration, made this week, rescinded the article protecting the legislative body.
The Supreme Constitutional Court has not announced a date to continue hearings that could result in the dissolution of the upper legislative body, as it has suspended all work until further notice.
The Shura Council is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.