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Egypt Parliament Watch: Mid-Session Report October 2016 – May 2017

Further assessment of Egypt’s House of Representatives is required to determine its democratic representation, according to this report.

Egypt’s House of Representatives began its second session on October 1, 2016. The body gathered in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on October 9 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of parliamentary politics in Egypt. The event was an international affair and President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi delivered a speech in which he described the parliament as “the most pluralistic chamber in the country’s history.” However, despite its apparent pluralism, a relatively high percentage of women and minority representation, and being touted as the last step on Egypt’s post-2013 “democratic roadmap,” the current House of Representatives requires further assessment to determine its democratic representation.

Thus, this progress report picks up where the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy’s report on the first session of the parliament ended. While a full analysis of the parliament’s performance in the second session will be forthcoming when the session closes, TIMEP’s Egypt Parliament Watch project team has prepared the following report covering October 2016 to May 2017 to provide a barometer of progress toward or regress from the indicators measured in the first report.

This progress report therefore includes:

  • Party Developments: A review of the developments in party and coalition dynamics since the publication of the last report.
  • Legislation Tracker: In line with TIMEP’s previous Legislation Tracker project, this section provides an English-language register of laws and relevant information.
  • Performance Indicators: This section reviews the parliament’s performance based on four key indicators, describing relevant developments and providing a snapshot analysis.

    The indicators include:

    Balance of Powers: Was the parliament able to act as an effective check and balance to the executive, the judiciary, and other state institutions?

    Accountability: Did members of parliament restrict their activity in accordance with existing statutes and bylaws, and did parliament implement equitable mechanisms to sanction members who did not?

    Public Engagement and Transparency: Did the parliament make its activities known to the public and seek to engage with its constituencies to ensure effective representation?

    Legislative Capacity: Was the parliament able to craft sound legislation in compliance with international and constitutional law?

  • Looking Forward: A list of ongoing issues and key legislation that our project team is watching as the second session progresses.

It is TIMEP’s hope that this report and the analysis herein will be of use to those interested in Egypt’s progress toward more democratic representation, which was and has been a key demand since the 2011 revolution. As with all of TIMEP’s work, it is intended to inform policies that will support the role of truly democratic institutions as part of a holistic policy program that holds human rights and rule of law as both inherently valuable and integral to security, stability, and prosperity.

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