Egyptian Parliament Reassembles in Urgency

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January 10, 2016

Egypt’s parliament is back in session after a three-year hiatus, and they have a deadline to meet.

A ruling from the country’s highest court dissolved the lawmaking body in 2012, just months after elections resulted in an Islamist-dominated assembly. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who deposed President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013, was then elected to lead the country, followed by a parliamentary election in October and November 2015 that resulted in a majority of the 568 elected members being supporters of Sisi, once the country’s top general. Another 28 members of parliament have been appointed by Sisi.

The parliament’s first important act was to elect a speaker, and that is Ali Abdelaal, a lawyer who drafted the current constitution and election laws. A former prosecutor, Abdelaal also taught law at a military college and at Egypt’s police academy. Abdelaal, educated in France, is first in the line of succession to President Sisi. The consitution, ratified in 2014, gives the House of Representatives powers to remove the President or the Prime Minister.

Parliament has just 15 days to rafity hundreds of laws passed by executive decree in between parliamentary elections.

Since Sisi was elected, the government has expanded police powers, imprisoned more than 40,000 people, and severely restricted the Egyptian people’s right to street protest and press freedom.

January and February 2016 will be the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt that resulted in the end of the 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak.

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