Minister: Parliament has not sent NGO law to presidency for approval

Parliament has not sent the NGO law to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for final approval yet, Minister of Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Magdy al-Agaty said in an interview to the state-owned Al-Ahram on Friday.

Egypt’s Parliament approved the contentious law in November, which has been slammed for restricting the work of independent NGOs, and represents serious violations to the right to organization and association, according to critics. But since its approval by Parliament, the law’s fate remains unknown.

Asked whether Parliament will review the law once more, Agaty said, “Everything is possible. According to the Constitution, Parliament can open the door to discuss the law again, and the president can also object to the law and return it back to Parliament.”

ِThe Constitution designates a period of 30 days in which the president may either approve a law passed by Parliament, or send it back for further discussion. But since Parliament passed the law two months ago, Sisi has yet to approve it.

Agaty added that he has no information as to why the law has not been approved yet. “Parliament voted on the law, but did not take the necessary measures needed to ratify it. The information I have is that it has not been sent to the President till now.”

A parliamentary source previously told Mada Masr that the process of sending a law from Parliament to the presidency only takes two hours after the end of the final voting session. The source speculated that the lag indicates an intention to delay the ratification of the law.

MP Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat sent a memo to parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal earlier this month inquiring about the fate of the law, saying said that many civil society organizations need to adjust their legal positions according to it.

He added that the president has approved other laws that were passed after the NGO law, “which makes us ask, was the law really sent to the presidency? Or is the law still in the desk [of the parliament speaker]?”

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