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Newly empowered Shura Council convenes

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Shura Council swears in its 90 new members, President Morsy to address assembly on Saturday

Parties with members in the Constituent Assembly failed to agree a consensus on the constitution's most controversial articles. (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

The Shura Council convened for its first session on 26 December 2012 after Egypt’s new constitution was passed. (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

The Shura Council convened on Wednesday for its first session after Egypt’s new constitution was passed. The government body took legislative powers from President Mohamed Morsy after the referendum and will be responsible for passing laws until Egypt’s new House of Representatives is elected within the next two months.

Morsy, who was authorised to appoint one third of the assembly’s members, made 90 new appointments on Saturday, bringing the total number of members up to 270. The 90 newcomers took their constitutional oaths in the televised session. The council unanimously decided to temporarily move their sessions to the hall that the House of Representatives will occupy once elected.

Prime Minister Hesham Qandil, and Minister of Legal Affairs of the State Mohamed Mahsoub, attended the council’s session.

“Now we can say that Egypt has seen the situation of a peaceful democratic transition,” said Mahsoub in his first address to the council. Mahsoub also urged opposition groups to pursue dialogues to achieve a “national reconciliation.”

Head of the Shura Council, Ahmed Fahmy, said that President Morsy would address the council on Saturday.

The elected members of the Shura Council took their positions after elections that ended in February of this year. At the time, the upper house of parliament possessed nominal powers and was anticipated to be left out of the country’s new constitution. The Freedom and Justice Party and Al-Nour Party took a combined 83 per cent of the elected seats in the election that yielded a 12 per cent turnout.

The Shura Council will act in its current legislative capacity until a lower house, formerly called the People’s Assembly but renamed the House of Representatives under the new constitution, is elected within two months.

Article 230 of the constitution stipulates that the Shura Council will hand over full legislative authority to the House of Representatives once it emerges. The election of a new Shura Council will then be elected within six months from the first session held by the House of Representatives.

The Shura Council is expected to convene for its second official session next Wednesday.


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