Shura Council


Shura Council

:"For the Islamist group, see Mujahideen Shura Council. For the Saudi legislature, see Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia."

The Shura Council (Arabic: Majilis Al-Shura مجلس الشورى) is the upper house of Egyptian bicameral Parliament. Its name roughly translates into English as "the Consultative Council". The lower house of parliament is the People's Assembly.

The Shura Council was created in 1980 through a Constitutional Amendment. The Council is composed of 264 members of which 174 members are directly elected and the 88 are appointed by the President of the Republic for six-year terms. Membership is rotating, with one half of the Council renewed every three years.

The Shura Council's legislative powers are limited. On most matters of legislation, the People's Assembly retains the last word in the event of a disagreement between the two houses.

Members

The Shura Council must be made up of 264 members, two thirds of the council (176) is elected by a direct ballot, and half of the Council must be farmers or workers, the remaining third (88) is appointed by the President of the Republic.

Term of membership and activities

The term membership of the Shura Council is six years. However, renewed election and appointment of 50% of the total number of members is required every three years, and it is always possible to re-elect or re-appoint those members whose membership has expired.The Constitution has provided many guarantees whereby the Council is able to carry out its tasks and activities. Such Guarantees include:
* The Council may not be dissolved except by a Presidential decree and only in case of necessity.
* Members of the Council have parliamentary immunity.

Candidates criteria

In accordance with the law, any candidate wishing to be elected to the Shura Council should meet the following conditions:
* Hold the Egyptian nationality as well as being the son of an Egyptian national.
* Be not less than 35 years old upon election or nomination.
* Have completed military service or be exempted therefrom.

The Shura Council member is elected by the absolute majority of valid votes cast in the elections.

Powers

Although the powers of the Shura Council are not as extensive or effective as the People’s Assembly, its jurisdiction as provided by Articles (194) and (195) of the Constitution covers the studying and proposing of what is deemed necessary to preserve the principles of the July 23rd revolution and the May 15th, 1971 Corrective Revolution.The Shura Council is to be consulted on the following (Article 195):

The council must "ratify":
* Proposals for the amendment of one or more Articles of the Constitution.
* Constitutional amendment bills.
* All treaties or agreements affecting Egypt’s territorial integrity or sovereignty. In case of disagreements with the People’s Assembly, a combined committee is formed comprising of both chambers’ chairmen and seven members from each chamber. The proposed bill is reconsidered in both chambers. If either still disagrees, the issue is once again in a joint session of both chambers to reach a common statement. The council is considered on a "consultative" capacity for:
* Drafts, and general plans for social and economic development.
* Bills referred to the Council by the President of the Republic.
* All matters relating to the state’s general policy or international issues referred to the Shura Council by the President of the Republic.

In this case, the council submits its decision to the president and the People’s Assembly.

Parliamentary elections

There are currently 18 recognised political parties covering a broad political spectrum. However, the formation of political parties based on religion is prohibited by the Constitution. Opposition and political pressure groups, like the Muslim Brotherhood, are active in Egypt and make their views public, and they are represented at various levels in the political system. However, power is concentrated in the hands of the President of the Republic and the National Democratic Party which retains a super-majority in the People's Assembly.

The November 2000 parliamentary elections are generally regarded to have been more transparent and better executed than past elections. This is due to the new law put into force establishing universal judicial monitoring of polling stations. On the other hand, opposition parties continue to lodge credible complaints about electoral manipulation by the government. There are significant restrictions on the political process and freedom of expression for non-governmental organisations, including professional syndicates and organisations promoting respect for human rights.

Latest election

2008 fire

On 19 August 2008, a huge fire seriously damaged most of the 19th-century palace that houses the Shura Council in Cairo. At least thirteen people were hurt in the fire, which destroyed the parliamentary archive room and several meeting chambers. [cite news | title = Egypt's parliament hit by blaze | publisher = BBC News | date = 2008-08-19 | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7571460.stm | accessdate = 2008-08-20]

According to the Egyptian Channel 1, 99% of the documents have been destroyed in the fire. Fact|date=August 2008

References

External links

* [http://www.shoura.gov.eg/shoura_en/index.asp Official website]


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