Egypt’s president summons Parliament chamber

Egypt's president ordered Parliament's upper chamber to convene after the release of official results of a referendum on an Islamist-backed Constitution that gives temporary legislative powers to the traditionally toothless chamber.

The results had been expected on Monday but were not released and the electoral commission has not yet set a date to announce them. The Muslim Brotherhood, the main group that backed the charter, said it passed with 64% of the vote – a result likely to be confirmed by the official result.

Parliament's upper house, the Shura Council, cannot convene before the official word that the Constitution has passed.

The new Constitution would give the Shura Council powers to legislate until the lower house is elected within the next two months. President Mohammed Morsi has held legislative powers for months now since a court disbanded the lower house of Parliament.

Over the weekend, Morsi appointed 90 members to the Islamist-dominated Shura Council, in an attempt to make the body more representative.

The 90 include at least 30 Islamists and a dozen minority Christians. The council now has a total of 270 members, two-thirds of them elected. Critics, however, say most of the representatives are either Islamists or their supporters.

The council was elected last winter in a vote with an extremely low turnout of less than 10 percent of Egypt's 51-million eligible voters.

The council is expected to prioritize the passing of a new law on the rules for parliamentary elections. The former lower house, the first to be elected after the uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak out of office nearly two years ago, was dissolved after a court order ruled the law governing election of its members was unconstitutional.

The passage of the disputed constitution following a month of political bickering has left Egypt more polarized and poised for continued tension. The opposition has already vowed to challenge the results of the referendum, alleging fraud and violations in the voting.

Critics say the new constitution seeks to enshrine Islamic rule in Egypt and accuses the Islamists of trying to monopolize power.

They say the charter does not sufficiently protect the rights of women and minority groups and empowers Muslim clerics by giving them a say over legislation. Some articles were also seen as tailored to get rid of Islamists' enemies and undermine the freedom of labor unions.

Morsi and his supporters say the constitution is needed to restore stability in the country, restore an elected Parliament and build state institutions. – Sapa-AP


ANC and the state step back from taking action against...

Despite alleged abuses of power and people’s trust, the ANC appears to have abandoned plans to reform the controversial Ingonyama Trust Board

Mkhwebane moves to halt ‘grossly unfair’ impeachment process

Mkhwebane moves to halt ‘grossly unfair’ impeachment process

Chaos theory: How Jürgen Klopp has harnessed the unpredictable

The Liverpool manager has his side playing unstoppable football but it’s the attention to detail off the field that has bred the success

Miners speak out against Sibanye

Not a year into buying Lonmin, Sibanye is accused of mistreating the mineworkers who were injured eight years ago during the Marikana massacre. But the platinum giant says it is a miscommunication. Athandiwe Saba and Paul Botes visit Marikana to find out the truth

Press Releases

Wellcome Trust award goes to UKZN mental health champion

Dr Andr? J van Rensburg, a senior researcher in UKZN's Centre for Rural Health, received the Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award.

MTN gears up to deliver improved customer service

On 28 January, the first batch of MTN contract customers will be migrated onto the new customer service platform.

Request for expression of interest on analysis of quality and outcome indicators for regional and district hospitals in Lesotho

Introduction The Ministry of Health of Lesotho with the support of the World Bank funded Nutrition and Health Systems Strengthening...

MiX Telematics enhances in-vehicle video camera solution

The company has launched the gold MiX Vision Bureau Service, which includes driver-coaching tools to ensure risky driver behaviour can be addressed proactively and efficiently.

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA