Parliament likely to approve in principle constitutional amendments on Thursday

Sarah El-Sheikh
3 Min Read

Egypt’s Parliament, headed by Ali Abdel Aal, are expected to approve in principle the proposed amendments of the 2014 Constitution.

A session will be held to vote on accepting and referral of the amendments for general discussion.

The Parliament on Wednesday discussed a 26-page report on the constitutional amendments, which will be referred to the constitutional and legislative affairs committee for detailed discussion.

The report said that the request, submitted by 155 parliamentarians, to amend the Constitution has legal justification as it meets the demands of the 30 June Revolution in 2013.

The Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said that three sessions were held on Wednesday to discuss the constitutional amendments, noting that they discussed only the principle of the request without making any suggestions regarding its details.

As for the refusal of some MPs to the amendments, Abdel Aal stressed that the amendments aim to reform the political scene in Egypt generally, not in favour of a certain person.

It is not the first suggestion for extending the presidential term as the committee previously assigned to draft the constitution was divided over making it six or four years, he noted.

Abdel Aal asserted that the final word on this matter will be made by the people.

He set an example of a large country which issued its constitution in 1987 and amended it after only a year and a half.

The parliament speaker described the amendment procedures in the Constitution as “harsh”.

Last week, the Parliament approved a request by a fifth of members to amend some articles of the Constitution, after the majority voted in favour of the amendments.

During the Wednesday’s session, the First Deputy Parliament Speaker, Al-Sayed Al-Sherif, said, “After reviewing the request, it was found legal and factual, as it came to adopt a number of reforms in the state.”

The amendments have seven main aims: to boost parliamentary representation of women, Copts, Egyptians abroad, the youth, and the physically challenged; to create an upper house to help widen participation in political and parliamentary life; to increase the length of the presidential term from four to six years; to bring back the post of vice president; to reform the judicial authorities; and to change the way the minister of defence is appointed.

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