When Egypt’s current legislature gathered under the dome of the parliament building on January 10, 2016, the country completed the final step in its “democratic road map.” But simply convening as a parliament does not necessarily mean that the body is truly engaging in democratic practice; further analysis is necessary to examine the function of the parliament and the ability of members to uphold their sworn oath to respect rule of law and the interests of the Egyptian people. Thus, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) launched its Egypt Parliament Watch project to assess the performance of Egypt’s unicameral parliament, the House of Representatives, and the quality of the legislation it produces.
The project includes years of data collection and review of political developments in the country, and it builds on TIMEP’s Parliamentary Elections and Legislation Tracker projects, which provided comprehensive analysis of the 2015 elections and legislation passed by executive decrees under President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi.
This report serves as the third full session report in the ongoing project. Along with the others in the Egypt Parliament Watch series, it provides analysis on the parliament with sections on parliamentary performance and legislation, along with appendices detailing a timeline of the third session and the report’s methodology.
This section reviews the parliament’s performance based on four key indicators, describing relevant developments and providing analysis and areas of concern.
The indicators include:
Checks and Balances: 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?
In line with TIMEP’s previous legislation tracker project, this section provides an English-language register of laws passed by parliament during the session. This section also features a spotlight of some of the most notable pieces of legislation; additional detail on these laws is available via the TIMEP Law Briefs, a separate output which complements this EPW report.
It is TIMEP’s hope that this report and the analysis found 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, the report 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.