Sidelined by design: Egypt’s parliament in transition

Jan Claudius Völkel

Egypt’s parliament has been broadly excluded from the country’s political developments since the 2011 uprisings. The nadir of its influence was reached when the House of Representatives (lower house) was dissolved in summer 2012, followed by the Shura Council (former upper house) in summer 2013. Subsequently, no parliament existed until new elections, repeatedly postponed, were eventually conducted in fall 2015. This delay seemed to be part of the government’s strategy, as it used these years without a parliament to draft an electoral law that made formation of a legislature critical of the regime highly unlikely. The repeated electoral postponements also imposed specific burdens on the revolutionary parties that struggled to compete with the former elites. This article examines the contributions of Egypt’s parliament to the country’s transition trajectory, discusses the relevant changes made to the constitution and electoral law, and concludes that the parliament’s contribution to Egypt’s development has been limited, and will most probably remain so in the future. 

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