When, on January 10, 2016, Egypt’s current legislature gathered under the dome of the parliament building, the country completed the final step in its “democratic roadmap.” This roadmap had been announced in 2013 by Abdel Fattah El-Sisi upon the ouster of former president Muhammad Morsi; defense minister under Morsi, Sisi declared that the transition to democratic rule would require selecting a new president (which saw Sisi’s rise to power) and parliamentary elections, held over six weeks in late 2015.
But simply convening as a parliament does not necessarily mean that body is truly engaging in democratic practice; further analysis is necessary to examine the function of the parliament and the ability of MPs to uphold their sworn oath to respect rule of law and the interests of the Egyptian people.
In this report, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy assesses the performance of Egypt’s parliament and the quality of the legislation it has passed during its first session, which ran from January to September 2016. The report builds on years of data collection and review of political developments in the country, as well as TIMEP’s Parliamentary Elections and Legislation Tracker projects, which provided comprehensive analysis of the 2015 elections and legislation passed by executive decrees under Sisi.
This report, which serves as the first in an ongoing project that will continue to provide reports and analysis on the parliament, features sections on parliamentary performance and legislation, along with an appendix detailing a timeline of the first session and the report’s methodology.
- Performance Indicators: 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:
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?
- Legislation Tracker: In line with TIMEP’s previous legislation tracker project, this section provides an English-language register of laws and relevant information. This section also features a spotlight of substantive legislation, with legal and constitutional analysis.
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, 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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