CAIRO: The Egyptian government has announced the dates for elections of the Senate, an upper house of parliament that was created as part of the 2019 constitutional amendments.
Candidates can submit applications from July 11 to July 18. The elections for Egyptians abroad will take place on Aug. 9 and Aug. 10, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The elections for Egyptians in the country will take place on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12. The results will be announced on Aug. 19.
The process will be conducted under full judicial supervision and media outlets will monitor the vote.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ratified a law to reinstate the Senate, formerly the Al-Shura Council, after it was abolished under the Muslim Brotherhood’s one-year rule in Egypt starting June 2012. The council’s role was largely advisory.
The National Elections Authority issued a decision regarding accepting requests submitted by local and foreign civil society organizations to renew the registration of a Senate election follow-up database. It also includes working to accept 37 local organizations and three specialized fields: The National Council for Women, the National Council for Human Rights and the National Council for Disability Affairs. They also accepted four foreign organizations.
Parliament member Margaret Azar commented on the return of the Senate, saying that legislative councils other than the House of Representatives were needed. She said Egypt needed other expertise whose laws were referred to before they reached parliament for study, reducing the burden on parliament.
Azar added that the experience of the legislative chamber represented in parliament did not prove its worth. The parliament was overwhelmed with many new laws following the revolutions. As Egypt became in need of new laws, there was a large number of legislations entering parliament which needed to be implemented quickly. This became a burden on parliament members. These laws then returned to the Council of State, which resulted in confusion between the authority and the executive power, she explained.
“With the return of the Egyptian Senate and the required competency and expertise, they can study the laws more carefully and more professionally, as the council will bring together several specializations.”
Ismail Nasr El-Din, an Egyptian MP, expressed his happiness at the formation of the Senate, saying it was “a new democratic victory for Egypt” and that the country was witnessing an “authentic democratic” experience. “Everyone in the country awaits the parliamentary experience of the next Senate, which will be an addition to the country in the face of major regional and internal challenges and issues,” he said.
The Wafd Party welcomed the return of the Senate. Yasser El-Hudaybi, the party leader, said that the National Elections Authority was constitutionally and legally responsible for the electoral dates and their organization. El-Hudaybi added that the authority had before it all the health and security issues that the country was going through, with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. He confirmed that the announced dates were in line with the current state of the country, health and security-wise.
The Al-Shura Council was established in 1979. Former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had wanted to establish another council alongside parliament, simply to express his opinion and to give advice without having a supervisory or legislative role. The council was to have been an alternative to the Socialist Union that existed under Sadat’s predecessor Gamal Abdel-Nasser and would include all leaders, whether from the opposition or the national party.