EGYPT: Women to form 11% of the next parliament
It looks like there may be more women in the stuffy chambers of the Egyptian parliament. A new election law is set to include an additional 56 seats, all of which will be allocated to female candidates, according to Gamal Mubarak, the son of President Hosni Mubarak and a key figure in the ruling National Democratic Party.
In its convention this week, the NDP's policies committee agreed on a proposal to increase the number of seats in the People's Assembly to 510 from 454 during the next elections. Mubarak confirmed that the new elections law amendments should guarantee that at least 11% of the new parliament members will be women.
The president's son added that the new proposal, which he described as a "positive discrimination" for women's rights in Egypt, would be adopted for a limited period, which might be up to two terms. The proposal will be forwarded to the parliament for a full vote.
Farkhonda Hassan, the secretary-general of the National Council for Women in Egypt, hailed the new proposal. Parliament is made up of the 264-member consultative Shura Council and the People's Assembly, which has 444 elected seats representing 222 constituencies and 10 appointed by the president.
The new proposal, which will be limited to the lower house of parliament and not the Shura Council, comes amid indications that the government is planning to dissolve parliament before the conclusion of its current term.
The next People's Assembly elections are set to take place in 2010.
-- Amro Hassan in Cairo
Photo: Egyptian parliament. Credit: Reuters