Today, Sunday 18 October 2020, Egypt’s Senate held its opening procedural meeting, during which the members were sworn in, and elected Judge Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razaq as Senate Speaker, Bahaaeddin Abu-Shuqqa as his first deputy, and Phoebe Fawzy Girgis as his second deputy.
Judge Abdel-Razeq, who was born in 1948, was head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court from July 2016 to July 2018, and is current head of the majority political party Mustaqbal Watan (Future of the Homeland).
Judge Abu-Shuqqa heads al-Wafd party, and Ms Girgis is member of Hizb al-Shaab al-Gumhouri, the People’s Republican party. She is the first Coptic woman to act as deputy to the Senate Speaker.
According to the law, the Senate is composed of 300 members, 200 elected through public secret ballot and 100 appointed by the president of the republic. Among the 200 elected members, 100 are elected according to a party list system and another 100 run as individuals. At least 10 per cent of the seats are allocated to women.
The Senate elections were held last August and September, bringing in 200 senators that included 17 Copts among them eight women.
The presidential appointees were announced on 14 October. They included 12 heads of opposition parties, 20 women, 19 from the military and police, six representatives of professional syndicates, four from the coordinatorate of young people, six media persons and cinema figures, two judges, eight from the education sector, 16 technocrats and public figures, and five representing the Church. The Coptic appointees numbered seven all in all. They included two women, and brought the number of Copts in the Senate up to 24: ten women and 14 men.
The pro-government Mustaqbal Watan party is the majority party, having won 147 seats (74 per cent); independents come next with 85 seats. The People’s Republican party have 19 seats; followed by the Wafd party with 11 seats; the Guardians of the Nation with 10 seats; the leftist Tagammu with four seats; and Modern Egypt with 4 seats. Three political parties: the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, the Reform and Development Party, and the National Movement Party have three seats each. The Salafi al-Nour party has two seats. Five political parties: the Egyptian Freedom, Justice, the Republican, the Will of the Nation, and Democratic Sadat have one seat each.
The Senate includes 40 women, 20 by election and 20 by appointment, making up 13.3 per cent of senators.
Today’s opening session was headed by Galal Haridi, founder of the Guardians of the Nation Party, in his capacity as the Senate’s most senior member. The two most junior senators, Amr Nabil Abdel-Rahman and Mahmoud Samir Abdel-Galil, acted as his deputies.
The 300 senators took the constitutional oath, then elected a speaker and two deputies.
The constitutional oath reads: “I swear by Almighty God that I should faithfully do my best to preserve the republican system, respect the Constitution and laws, fully observe the interests of the people, and preserve the independence, unity and integrity of the homeland.”
18 October 2020