The Shura Council (Arabic: مجلس الشورى, pronounced [ˈmæɡles eʃˈʃuːɾˤɑ], "consultative council") was the upper house of the formerly bicameral Parliament of Egypt. Its name roughly translated into English as "the Consultative Council". The lower house of parliament is the House of Representatives. The council was abolished by the 2014 constitution.
Egyptian Shura Council
مجلس الشورى المصرى
Maǧlis aš-Šūrā al-Maṣrī
|Shura Council chamber of the Egyptian Parliament building, Cairo, Egypt|
The Shura Council was created in 1980 through a Constitutional Amendment. The Council was composed of 264 members of which 176 members were directly elected and 88 were appointed by the President of the Republic for six-year terms. Membership was rotating, with one half of the Council renewed every three years.
A legal challenge concerning the constitutionality of the Shura Council was to have been considered on 2 December 2012 by the High Constitutional Court, but the court postponed the verdict in response to protests. Mohamed Morsi's constitutional declaration issued in November 2012 bars the Shura Council from being dissolved by the judiciary. The constitutional declaration issued by Morsi in December 2012 allowed the Shura Council to be dissolved by the judiciary. The High Constitutional Court referred the lawsuit to the State Commissioners' Board, which is the advisory board of the High Constitutional Court, on 15 January 2013. The board of commissioners will review the lawsuit on 10 February 2013; after lawyers give the required documents, the board will create a report on the constitutionality of the election law. The report was received 22 April 2013. The formation of the Shura Council was ruled unconstitutional on 2 June 2013. As of early July 2013, 30 members of the Shura Council have resigned. The Shura Council was dissolved on 5 July 2013.
The Shura Council comprised 264 members, two-thirds (176) of whom were elected by direct ballot, and the remaining third appointed by the President of the Republic. Half of all members were required to be farmers or workers.
Term of membership and activitiesEdit
The term membership of the Shura Council was six years. However, renewed election and appointment of 50% of the total number of members was required every three years, and re-election and re-appointment was possible for those members whose terms were expiring. The Constitution provided many guarantees to protect the Council, including:
- The Council may not be dissolved except by a Presidential decree and only in case of necessity.
- Members of the Council have parliamentary immunity.
In accordance with the law, any candidate wishing to be elected to the Shura Council shall meet the following conditions:
- Hold the Egyptian nationality as well as being the son/daughter 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.
Although the powers of the Shura Council were not as extensive or effective as the People’s Assembly, its jurisdiction as provided by Articles (194) and (195) of the Constitutions of 1971 and 2012 covers the studying and proposing of what is deemed necessary to preserve the principles of the 23 July revolution and the 15 May 1971 Corrective Revolution. The Shura Council consulted on the following (Article 195):
The council must ratify:
- 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 composed 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 submitted its decision to the president and the People’s Assembly.
There are currently many recognized 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.
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 organizations, including professional syndicates and organizations promoting respect for human rights.
|Freedom and Justice Party||2,894,922||45.04||56||49||105|
|New Wafd Party||543,417||8.45||14||0||14|
|Democratic Peace Party||95,273||1.48||1||0||1|
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.
According to the Egyptian Channel 1, 99% of the documents were destroyed in the fire.
On 21 November 2009, President Mubarak inaugurated the new Shura Council Building, which was renovated by Al Mokaweloon Al Arab.
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