EgyptNews

Emergency Law: Parliament discusses amendments that give Sisi broad powers

Nwafez Team

According to the Middle East Eye website, the Egyptian parliament began today, Saturday, April 18th, to discuss a draft law amending the emergency law, which aims to give President Sisi broader powers, including the right to suspend this school year and place returning expatriates in quarantine.

Emergency law

 

According to government media sources said on Thursday, these amendments to the emergency law will provide President Sisi with new powers to control the spread of the coronavirus.

An “informed parliamentary source” spoke to a number of media outlets on Thursday, saying that a number of parliamentary committees are expected to meet on Saturday to discuss amendments to Law No. 162/1958 known as the Emergency Law.

Below are excerpts from the amendments to the emergency law:

“This includes the powers to suspend the academic and university year, completely or partially shut down some ministries and authorities, defer the payment of water bills, electricity and natural gas in whole or in part, and compel Egyptian expatriates returning to their homes to submit to the necessary health and quarantine.”

“The measures also include granting the president the right to allocate cash and in-kind assistance to individuals and families, to provide financial support for medical research, to provide financial and in-kind support to the affected economic sectors, to defer payment of certain taxes, and to transform schools and youth centers into field hospitals.”

The parliamentary source said that the new authorities are designed to allow the president to take the necessary decisions to reduce health emergencies such as the Corona Virus pandemic.

According to the Middle East Eye website, Egypt is subject to a continuous state of emergency for nearly four decades and a short period in 2012.
The current state of emergency is set to end on April 27, but it is likely that President Sisi will renew it for another three months by referring to the country’s security threats.

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President Sisi

 

According to local newspapers, the amendments will include:

  • Ban public and private meetings, processions, demonstrations, celebrations and other forms of gatherings.
  • Determine the method of collecting financial and in-kind donations, and the rules for allocating these donations and spending from them.

It is noteworthy that the state of emergency will enter its fourth year soon after the January 2011 revolution, after being extended 11 times since the end of the first period in July 2017.
A state of emergency was declared in April of the same year, in the wake of two attacks, targeting two churches in the north of the country at the time, which were adopted by ISIS.

Emergency Law: Parliament discusses amendments that give Sisi broad powers
Emergency Law: Parliament discusses amendments that give Sisi broad powers

Without the need for amendments to the emergency law, Sisi has unprecedented control over all state institutions, including the judiciary and the media.

The state of emergency also provides the army and police with additional powers, most notably:

  • Monitor newspapers and means of communication, and forfeiture.
  • Extending the powers of the army and police to impose insurance and inspection procedures.
  • Referral to exceptional courts, evacuation of regions, and imposition of curfews in other regions.
  • Imposition of judicial custody.

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