Thursday 8 December 2011

Highlights Of The Decree Creating Egypt's Consultative Council

SCAF has just issued decree 283 for the year 2011 on the creation of the "Consultative Council". This council was an attempt by SCAF to appease Tahrir's demands for a "National Salvation Government" head by Mohammed ElBaradei. The supposed compromise's idea was to create a council of technocrats and dignitaries that would assist the new cabinet of Prime Minister Kamal Al Ganzouri in its work, and also provide some de facto oversight in front of the public eye in the process. Nevertheless, Tahrir was neither pleased by the choice of Al Ganzouri as PM, nor expressive of any sentiment of support or interest with regards to the consultative council, with a popular belief among the protest movement that such council would serve as nothing more than lifeless décor.

The new decree sets the following terms for the council. This is both a translation and a paraphrasing at the same time, follows the same point-by-point structure of the decree, but takes some phrasing and summation liberties:

1- The Council is to assist SCAF during the transitional period, until a President is elected. The Council is to be based in Cairo.

2- The Council is composed of 30 individuals, including party heads & politicians, academics and dignitaries. Members include: Abul Ela Mady (head of Al Wasat Party), Al Sayyed Al Badawy (Head of Al Wafd Party), Dr. Hassan Naf'aa (prominent political scientist), Sameh Ashour (head of the lawyer's syndicate), Amr Moussa (former Foreign Minister, former Arab League Sec-Gen, and current possible Presidential Candidate), and businessman and co-founder of the Free Egyptians Party Naguib Sawiris. The council, using a majority vote and in consultation with SCAF, can add new members. (Note: The Muslim Brotherhood decided today not to join the council, some argue in protest of the SCAF meeting with foreign journalists a day before)

3- The Council is to provide an official opinion on issues presented to it by SCAF, including legislative proposals and possible international treaties, until the new Parliament is in session. The opinion should be drafted and sent within one week of receiving the query.

4- The Council is to choose one president, and two vice presidents. If the President is not attending, the oldest VP in age presides. If both VPs aren't there, the oldest attending member presides. If a SCAF member is attending, that member presides. The council is to meet at least once a week, and can meet any time based on the demand of SCAF or 1/3 of the council's members. The Council can also invite anyone to attend, without giving that person voting rights.

5- There will be a general secretariat for the council headed by an internally elected council member serving as Secretary-General, whose staff is to be provided by the cabinet from public servants following a decree by the PM.

6- The Council members are not to receive financial remuneration.

And here's the original Arabic text

(Personal Note: I have not been writing as regularly as before. I should return to normal schedule soon, hopefully.)

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