Brotherhood MP says 25 percent of Egyptian legislation “unconstitutional”

CAIRO: “Twenty-five percent of the laws in Egyptian legislation are unconstitutional,” said Member of Parliament Abdel-Aziz Khalaf, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.


Khalaf was speaking at the Egyptian Legislative Reform Forum last Saturday, which was organized by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.


“The problem is with the People’s Assembly (PA), which approves and passes laws  hastily,” Khalaf told Daily News Egypt.


“The process of discussing and approving the laws happens so quickly, the end result is these laws are brought to the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt and are cancelled some two years later,” he added. 


Khalaf was referring to the approximately 38 laws discussed and passed by the PA in a two-month timeframe during this past parliamentary session, which goes from September to June.


“This affects the credibility of the PA as a legislative body,” he said.


The PA passed a total of 148 laws during the parliamentary session which ended a fortnight ago, 110 of which dealt with financial matters and the state budget while 38 covered political and socio-economic issues.


“We spend the whole round discussing investigation requests and other matters, and then we cram the discussion of new laws, amendments and these major issues to the last two months,” explained Khalaf.


“This is a habit of the government and the National Democratic Party (NDP) and it all comes at the expense of the Egyptian citizen to the favor of I don’t know who — whether it’s the businessmen or whoever,” he added.

The Egyptian Legislative Reform Forum, which took place at the Bar Association Club in Assiut last week, was held under the auspices of the European Union’s (EU) program “EOHR initiative to reform and modernize the legislative system to conform with the International Covenant for Human Rights.”


Participants at the forum included university professors, judges, members of parliament, representatives of political parties and civil society activists.


Mohamed El-Katatney, lawyer at the Egyptian Court of Cassation and participant at the forum, seconded Khalaf’s statement.


“Since 1981, the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt has ruled that 91 articles in the Egyptian law are unconstitutional, which is equivalent to 25 percent of Egyptian legislation,” he said.


“This is an indication of corruption inside legislative bodies,” Katatney added. 


Participants at the forum called on the “Egyptian government to accelerate the step of legislative reform, especially legislation related to political parties, press and the judiciary,” according to EOHR’s website.


Although legal experts may agree on the need for legislative reform in Egypt, there are some speculations regarding the number, Khalaf said.


“Egyptian legislation is in need of major reform, especially when it comes to the laws concerning freedom, political parties, civil society and elections.


However, I’m not sure if the amount of unconstitutional laws counts for 25 percent — this is a huge number. An extensive study of the law is needed before stating such a number,” said Amir Salem, lawyer at the Egyptian Court of Cassation.


Khalaf, who is a pharmacist, said that he was informed about this percentage from lawyers, judges and other legal officials who are fellow members of the Muslim Brotherhood.


The Brotherhood MP explains that as part of an opposition force, which counts for nearly 19 percent of the PA, “we try to do the best we can against a ruling majority.”


“I think the way to solve this issue is for the PA to take its time in discussing draft laws, viewing it from different angles and presenting it to the Supreme Court before putting it to a final vote,” he said.