Legislative power in Egypt resides in a bicameral parliament consisting of the People's Assembly (Majles al-Chaab), composed of 454 members, and the Shura Council (Majlis as-Shura, or Advisory Council), composed of 264 members, one-third of whom are appointed by the president. 444 of the deputies to the People’s Assembly are popularly elected for five years, and the president appoints 10 members by a decree. The People’s Assembly has the power to nominate the president of the republic, propose laws, discuss and enact bills, and approve the general policy of the state, the general plan of economic and social development, and the general budget of the state, whereas the Shura Council is limited to a consultative role.
The People’s Assembly is composed of the speaker, the Assembly Bureau, the Assembly General Committee, Ethics Committee, Specific Committee, Special and Joint Committee, and the Inter-Parliamentary Group. The regular sessions of the People’s Assembly last for seven months. The president of the republic convenes and closes the sessions of the People's Assembly. The president may, in cases of urgency or upon the request of the majority of the Assembly members, convene the Assembly to an extraordinary meeting. The speaker of parliament opens the meetings of regular sessions, chairs them and announces their adjournment. He keeps order, conducts debates, gives members the floor, determines the subject of discussion, and calls the member’s attention to keep to the point. The current secretary general of the parliament is Sami Mahran. The current speaker of the parliament is Ahmed Fathi Sorour.
The Shura Council, instituted by amendment to the Constitution of 1971, should be consulted in proposals for the amendment of the constitution, draft laws, draft of the general plan for social and economic development, peace treaties, and alliances. Two-thirds of its 264 members are elected by the public, at least half of whom must be workers and farmers. The president of the republic appoints the other third. The term of membership of the Shoura Assembly is six years, whereas renewed election and appointment of 50 percent of the total number of members, whether elected or appointed, is every three years. Its current speaker is Mustafa Kamal Helmi.
Every member of the People's Assembly is entitled to ask questions to the Prime Minister or any of his deputies and ministers concerning matters within their jurisdiction. The president cannot dissolve the People's Assembly unless it is deemed necessary and following a referendum of the people, except under circumstances of martial law. The President of the Republic issues a decision terminating the sessions of the People's Assembly and conducting a referendum within thirty days. If the total majority of the voters approve the dissolution of the Assembly, the President of the Republic shall issue the decision of dissolution. The decision dissolving the Assembly comprises an invitation to the electors to conduct new elections for the People's Assembly within a period not exceeding sixty days from the date of the declaration of the referendum results. The new Assembly convenes during a period of ten days following the completion of elections.
Ministers are collectively responsible for the general policy of the State before the People's Assembly, and every Minister is responsible for the work and performance of his Ministry. The People's Assembly may decide to withdraw its confidence from any of the Prime Minister's deputies or from any of the Ministers or their deputies. A motion of no confidence should not be submitted except after an interpolation. Such a motion should be proposed by ten of the Assembly's members. The People's Assembly approves the general plan for economic and social development.
Sessions, Dissolution, State of Exception
If the People’s Assembly withdraws confidence from the cabinet and seconds its no-confidence motion after reconsideration by the president, the president of the republic may put the subject to a referendum. If the result of the referendum is in support of the government, the Assembly is considered dissolved and new elections must be held within 60 days. If the referendum goes in favor of the Assembly, the cabinet resigns.
Government officials are not responsible before the Shoura Assembly, but may be heard by it and its committees upon their request. The president of the republic may not dissolve the Shoura Assembly except when necessary, while such a decision should comprise a call to hold new elections for the Shoura Assembly within a period of sixty days from the date of its dissolution.
The General Secretariat offers technical and managerial help needed by the Assembly committees to carry out their legislative and control missions. It prepares the draft agenda of the sittings, edits the records, revises them and prepares them for printing, and carries out the decisions made by the Assembly.
Committee Structures and Membership
The parliament may create standing, temporary, and fact-finding committees. According the Rules of Procedure of the legislature, the number of fact-finding committee members may not be less than seven or more than 25 members and are chosen by the Assembly upon the proposal of the speaker. There are 18 committees helping the Assembly to exercise its legislative and monitoring authorities.
Legislative Drafting Processes
Resolutions are adopted by an absolute majority of the attending members. In case of a tie vote, the question on which the debate had taken place is rejected. The president of the republic has the right, in case of necessity or in exceptional cases and on the authorization of the People's Assembly upon the approval of a majority of two-thirds of its members, to issue resolutions having the force of law. If the president objects to a draft law ratified by the People's Assembly, he refers it back to the Assembly within thirty days. If the draft law is not referred back within this period, it is considered law. If it is referred back to the Assembly and approved once again by two-thirds of the members, it is considered law. Laws passed are published in the Official Gazette.
The draft general budget is submitted to the People's Assembly at least two months before the beginning of the fiscal year. It becomes operative after any modification in the draft budget with the approval of the government. In case the ratification of the new budget is not applicable before the beginning of the fiscal year; the old budget is valid pending ratification of the new one. The final account of the State budget is submitted to the People's Assembly within a period not exceeding one year from the date of the expiration of the fiscal year. It is voted upon title by title and issued by a law. The annual report of the Central Auditing Organization (CAO) and its observations must be submitted to the People's Assembly. The Assembly has the right to demand from the (CAO) any data or other related reports. The CAO in virtue of Law No. 144 of 1988, explains that this organization is an independent body that has corporate public stature and is affiliated to the People's Assembly. Its task is to control the government funds and those of other public corporate. It helps the People's Assembly in the financial control of both the accounting and legal sections monitoring performance, following up the implementation of the plan and legal control of decisions issued on financial irregularities.
The Egyptian government has established a Ministry of State for Parliamentary Affairs to coordinate the activities between the executive and legislative branches. The members of the Assembly may not be censured for their opinion and may not be subject to criminal prosecution, except in cases of flagrant crime.
The Egyptian parliament is a member of both the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU).