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Egypt parliament to open third session Monday
Published in Ahram Online on 01 - 10 - 2017

Following a three-month summer recess, Egypt's parliament – the House of Representatives – will begin Monday the third session of its five-year term.
Article 115 of the 2014 Constitution obliges the president to invite parliament to convene before the first Thursday of the month of October every year.
On 28 September, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi issued decree 470/2017, asking parliament to meet in a morning plenary on 2 October to begin its third nine-month legislative session.
Monday's meeting will be largely procedural. The speaker, his two deputies and the spokespersons of political parties and parliamentary coalitions will give speeches followed by Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal asking MPs to hold separate meetings to elect officers for the House of Representatives' 25 committees.
A senior government official – Prime Minister Sherif Ismail or Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan – should also attend the opening meeting to address MPs on the government's preparations for the new legislative season and say when the government will submit its annual policy statement.
Minister Marawan told reporters last week that the cabinet intends to submit up to 30 draft laws in parliament's new session.
"The draft laws cover political, economic and social areas," said Marawan.
Marawan indicated that changes to key laws regulating local councils, criminal procedures, labour conditions, the election of trade unions, social insurance, personal affairs, construction works, consumer protection, bankruptcy and religious discourse are expected to be discussed by parliament.
The cabinet issued a statement last week saying it will also submit a review of the government's economic performance in the first six months of this year.
Salah Fawzi, a professor of constitutional law and a parliamentary advisor, told Ahram Online that, "The president can also deliver a speech before parliament at the beginning of each session."
The only time President El-Sisi addressed parliament was on its first session in January 2016.
The procedural session Monday will be followed by MPs electing leading officials to the House's 25 committees.
The results of the election will be announced in a plenary meeting Tuesday.
MPs should elect one head, two deputies and one secretary-general on each committee's board. They also should elect members of parliament's ethics committee.
Parliament's general committee, including the speaker, his two deputies and heads of committees, will be also formed.
Fawzi said House Speaker Abdel-Aal and his two deputies El-Sayed El-Sherif and Soliman Wahdan will not be a matter of election in line with Article 117 of the constitution, which states that they are elected only at the beginning of parliament's five-year term.
On Sunday, the 334-member pro-regime Support Egypt alliance re-elected Mohamed El-Sewedi, a business tycoon and head of the General Federation of Egyptian Industries (GFEI), as head.
Salah Hassaballah, parliamentary spokesman of the Support Egypt bloc, told Ahram Online that members of the alliance will contest leading posts on a majority of parliamentary committees.
The Support Egypt bloc won the leading posts of as many as 16 committees last year.
"We are not intending to monopolise parliamentary committees," Hassaballah said, indicating that, "The bloc will be in contact with other political parties and independent MPs to ensure the most efficient and qualified deputies win the leading posts on committees."
A number of influential figures, however, are expected to be re-elected unopposed.
These include the head of the media, culture and antiquities committee Osama Heikal, head of the Arab affairs committee Saad El-Gammal, head of the defence and national security committee Kamal Amer, head of the tourism committee Sahar Talaat, head of the youth committee Farag Amer, head of the constitutional and legislative affairs committee Bahaaeddin Abu Shokka, and Alaa Abed, head of the human rights committee.
Presidential elections in Egypt are expected to be held in May or June 2018. The elected president should swear in before parliament.
A hopeful presidential candidate should get the recommendations of at least 20 MPs or 25,000 citizens in at least 15 governorates.
El-Sewedi told reporters that the majority of the Support Egypt bloc's members back re-electing President El-Sisi for a second four-year term.

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