The Regional Center for Mediation and Dialogue has successfully concluded the project, “Developing a New Regulatory Act for the Egyptian Parliament through a Dialogue Process” in June 2016; which realized its main objectives through 18 months of work.
The first steps of the project date back to August 2013, when it was a cooperative initiative between RCMD and Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) to conduct a research aiming at enhancing the performance of Egypt’s House of Representatives. The research mainly focused on studying the Egyptian Parliament Regulations Act of 1979, comparing it to other Parliaments’ bylaws in the world as well as previous Egyptian Parliaments’ bylaws since 1923, so to reach a new and more democratic philosophy for a new Regulations Act that fits the revolutionary change that Egypt witnessed and the constitutional realities that changed alongside.
The main goal of the project was to reinforce Egypt’s next Parliament democratic performance, through drafting an Internal Regulations Act for Egypt’s House of Representatives in accordance with the 2014 constitution, reaching out to similar initiatives, creating dialogue space on next Parliament’s legislative agenda, and discovering political parties’ directions regarding that agenda.
Throughout eight workshops and parallel activities, the project succeeded to realize several outcomes, most important of which was, publishing the Internal Regulations Document developed by RCMD alongside two other initiatives in a book authored by Dr. Amr Hashem Rabea, from Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. It also helped raising awareness of dozens of MPs on some topics that the parliament is constitutionally obliged to consider such as laws complementary to the constitution, the parliamentary oversight tools and the codes of conduct for MPs, as well as enhancing the standing partnership and networking among RCMD, Ahram Center, and RCMD with parliament members.
The project focused on engaging different stakeholders, mainly political parties, in the drafting process of a new Internal Regulations Act for the parliament that is more democratic and empowering. The ongoing consultations with stakeholders resulted in growing their sense of ownership for the draft bill..
Surely the new Parliament bylaws are by far more democratic in some aspects than its older version. Among other things, the new bylaws limits the terms of the parliament chairman and the two deputies to two legislative terms (Art. 12) and allows the MPs to elect the chairman and the deputies out (Art. 15). However, the control of the Parliament chairman through the bureau of the House remains as powerful as before.