Parliament’s fourth legislative round kicks off with busy agenda

Sarah El-Sheikh
3 Min Read

Egypt’s parliament started the first session of its fourth legislative round on Tuesday after a two-month leave.

This came following a presidential decree issued on Sunday ordering the parliament to start its fourth round.

Discussions and amendments for criminal procedures laws, cybercrime, labour, and municipalities, along with others, are on the top of parliament’s legislative agenda during this round.

The new round marks the one before the last for this parliamentary term. The third legislative round ended by the end of July.  The last session was on 26 July, when the parliament granted confidence to the new government declared for the second term of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

During the third round, a total of 111 laws were approved, including legislation for comprehensive health insurance, persons with disabilities, trade and labour unions, as well as other laws for the electricity sector, consumer, and antiquities protection.

Article 115 of the 2014 constitution stipulates that every parliamentary term should continue for five legislative rounds, each lasting for at least nine months, with a possibility for extension.

parliament spokesperson Salah Hasballah said in a televised interview that parliament sessions will be aired during the fourth round.

In January 2016, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal announced during the first parliamentary round the suspension of the broadcasting of parliamentary sessions following the request of around 40 members. The decision was justified as an attempt to control the image of the members, after the violations witnessed during the opening session by some of the members, and at the time it was declared as temporary ruling.

Previously, disorder and heated arguments dominated the first two sessions. The live broadcast caught members talking about food and compensations.

The decision was welcomed by the majority of members at the time. While others demanded the airing of the sessions, urging that people have the right to watch what is happening during the plenary sessions. Calls for broadcasting the sessions continued for several years.

Despite the broadcast ban, the sessions continued to be recorded. However, only parts of them were broadcasted to the public, and not for all the sessions.

As per Constitutional Article 120, the sessions of the parliament should be held in public, and a secret session is only allowed after a request by either the president or prime minister, as well as the parliament speaker or at least 20 of the members. 

The parliament passed hundreds of laws since its recent establishment in 2016, some of which were the subject of public objection on both the economic, and political levels, including laws on media, and social media. Other laws came amid major economic reform policies implemented by the regime.

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