The House of Representatives, whose members are elected to serve five year terms, specializes in legislation. Elections were last held between November 2011 and January 2012 which was later dissolved.
The next parliamentary elections were announced to be held within 6 months of the constitution’s ratification on 18 January 2014 and were held in two phases from 17 October to 2 December 2015.
Originally, the parliament was to be formed before the president was elected, but interim president Adly Mansour pushed the date. The Egyptian presidential election, 2014, took place on 26–28 May 2014.
Official figures showed a turnout of 25,578,233 or 47.5%, with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi winning with 23.78 million votes, or 96.91% compared to 757,511 (3.09%) for Hamdeen Sabahi.
After a wave of public discontent with autocratic excesses of the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi, on 3 July 2013 then-General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced the removal of Morsi from office and the suspension of the constitution.
A 50-member constitution committee was formed for modifying the constitution which was later published for public voting and was adopted on 18 January 2014.
In 2013, Freedom House rated political rights in Egypt at 5 (with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least), and civil liberties at 5, which gave it the freedom rating of “Partly Free”.
Egyptian nationalism predates its Arab counterpart by many decades, having roots in the 19th century and becoming the dominant mode of expression of Egyptian anti-colonial activists and intellectuals until the early 20th century. The ideology espoused by Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood is mostly supported by the lower-middle strata of Egyptian society.
Egypt has the oldest continuous parliamentary tradition in the Arab world. The first popular assembly was established in 1866. It was disbanded as a result of the British occupation of 1882, and the British allowed only a consultative body to sit. In 1923, however, after the country’s independence was declared, a new constitution provided for a parliamentary monarchy.
Law of Egypt
The legal system is based on Islamic and civil law (particularly Napoleonic codes); and judicial review by a Supreme Court, which accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction only with reservations.
Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation. Sharia courts and qadis are run and licensed by the Ministry of Justice. The personal status law that regulates matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody is governed by Sharia. In a family court, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s testimony.
On 26 December 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to institutionalise a controversial new constitution. It was approved by the public in a referendum held 15–22 December 2012 with 64% support, but with only 33% electorate participation.
It replaced the 2011 Provisional Constitution of Egypt, adopted following the revolution.
The Penal code was unique as it contains a “Blasphemy Law.” The present court system allows a death penalty including against an absent individual tried in absentia. Several Americans and Canadians were sentenced to death in 2012.
On 18 January 2014, the interim government successfully institutionalised a more secular constitution. The president is elected to a four-year term and may serve 2 terms. The parliament may impeach the president.
Under the constitution, there is a guarantee of gender equality and absolute freedom of thought. The military retains the ability to appoint the national Minister of Defence for the next two full presidential terms since the constitution took effect. Under the constitution, political parties may not be based on “religion, race, gender or geography”.