Egypt’s newly elected parliament has only 15 days to approve hundreds of laws issued by executive decree during the period the assembly was on suspension.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is looking to push through over 200 laws, and the newly elected legislature is constitutionally obliged to either approve or reject the laws.
Mahmoud Saad Al Din, Editor in Chief of ‘Parlmany’ magazine, a local publication focusing on parliament news, said the laws will have to be debated objectively to avoid legal deadlocks.
“There are 300 laws to establish a foundation for economic laws, protest laws, public speech laws, university laws, civil status laws and taxation laws. Therefore we are talking about laws in every sector of society. If the parliament does not discuss them, Egypt will hit a brick wall,” he said.
Egypt’s new parliament, which has 568 elected members plus another 28 appointed directly by the president, is dominated by the “Support Egypt” coalition, an alliance of over 400 MPs loyal to el-Sisi.
It was chosen in elections that critics said were undermined by a security crackdown on Islamist and other opposition groups.
On Sunday, January 17, the Egyptian parliament approved a controversial anti-terrorism law that sets up special courts and shields its enforcers from legal ramifications.
It details sentences for various terrorism-related crimes ranging from five years to the death penalty, and shields the military and police from legal penalties for what it calls proportionate use of force.
The anti-terrorism law was passed by an overwhelming 457 votes to 24 without a single amendment to the original decree, parliamentary sources said.
Next Monday, January 25, marks the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising, with the Muslim Brotherhood calling for mass protests on the day.