On Monday, President Mohamed Morsy called for a new legislative session of the Shura Council to start on Wednesday.
Morsy has cancelled the Monday and Tuesday sessions of the Shura Council, according to presidential decree number 434 for the year 2012. He has announced that the first day of the council’s 33rd round would be on December 26.
On Saturday, Morsy ratified the list of the newly appointed Shura Council members. The list, which includes 90 names, had 75 non-Islamists, according to the state-run news agency MENA. The Shura Council is made up of of 270 members, 180 of them are elected by the people, and 90 are appointed by the president, according to the current constitution.
In the new constitution, the Shura Council will be formed with a minimum of 150 members, and ten per cent of those members will be appointed by the president.
Aly Kamal, member of the legal committee in the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), said, “it is the legal right for Morsy to start and end legislative sessions of the Shura Council.”
He added that on Wednesday, after the new constitution is officially passed, the Shura Council will carry the legislative powers until a new parliament is formed. “This is one of the positive aspects in the new constitution. It eliminates any legislative gaps in the absence of the Parliament,” he said.
According to the new constitution, the Shura Council can not be dissolved or abolished. In the absence of the president and parliament, the Shura Council takes over the powers of the president to fill the legislative vacuum. If only the president is absent, the Shura Council has to approve all legislation measures passed by the parliament.
Kamal, who is a member at the lawyers’ syndicate, explained that the President is the only person authorised to call or end legislative sessions. “This comes with the power of the law itself, not according to any constitution,” he said.
Moustafa Farghaly, the secretary general of the FJP’s Boulak Abul Ela headquarters, said Morsy’s decrees were “procedural” after the ratification of the 90 new appointed figures.
“Who is expecting that the Shura Council should take a vacation until the new constitution is passed? Nothing is taken against Morsy with regards to announcing a new legislative round,” Farghaly said.
Khaled Daoud, the spokesperson of the National Salvation Front (NSF), said the recent presidential decrees were expected.
“We know that they want to expand the role of the Shura Council, but we are not optimistic on the kind of laws coming out of this council,” he said, explaining that 80 per cent of the Shura Council members are members of FJP, Al-Nour and Al-Wasat parties.
“This is a continuation of the same old methodology. They are trying to use the Shura Council to pass a waiting list of legislations that are not going to be positive,” Daoud said. The emergency and labour laws are among those laws that Islamists want to pass, he expected.
Even when Morsy appointed the new 90 members in the council, Desouky said the NSF was disappointed to see that the majority are “Morsy’s friends and acquaintances.” He said, “what is expected from a council that has never had any weight in legislation? This is a useless council.”