Political System

[Political System] [Civil Society] [Foreign Policy]


POLITICAL SYSTEM
Type of Government: Republic
Constitution: The Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, adopted in 1971 and amended in 1980, declares that Egypt is an Arab Republic with a democratic system. The Constitution further outlines Egypt's political system and defines public authorities.
Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at age 18

Executive branch:
*Head of State: President of the Republic Mohammed Hosni MUBARAK since 14 October 1981, re-elected for a six-year term in October 1993.

Executive authority is vested in the President, who is nominated by a two-thirds majority of the People's Assembly, then elected by popular referendum for a six-year term. The President formulates and supervises the implementation of general state policy. He also acts as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
*Government: consists of the Council of Ministers, headed since October 1999 by the Prime Minister D. Atef Obeid.

The government is the supreme executive and administrative organ of the State. The Prime Minister supervises the work of the Government. The Ministers are collectively responsible for the general policy of the State before the People's Assembly, and every Minister is responsible for the performance of his Ministry.
The Parliament may withdraw confidence from the Cabinet or any Cabinet member.

Legislative Branch:

* People's Assembly (Majlis al-Cha'b) is the legislative branch of the State. It approves the general policy, new laws, the budget and the development plan. According to the Constitution, the People's Assembly is made up of 444 directly elected members and 10 members appointed by the President, who serve for a term of five years.
* Advisory Council (Majlis al-Shura) 258 seats. The Shura Council is Egypt's consultative council. It offers advice and consultation, and proposes new laws and regulations to the People's Assembly.

Judicial Branch:
The judicial authority is exercised through four categories of courts of justice: the Supreme Constitutional Court, which is the highest judicial body, the Court of Cessation, the seven courts of Appeal in the various Governorates, and the Summary Tribunals in the districts.
Legal System: Based on English common law, Islamic law, and Napoleonic codes; judicial review by Supreme Court and Council of State (oversees validity of administrative decisions).
Local Government
Administratively, Egypt is divided into 26 Governorates, each headed by a Governor who is appointed by the President. Within their districts, local government units establish and manage all public utilities, provide services, designate industrial areas. Local Popular Councils are elected bodies that work closely with local government administrative units at various levels.

CIVIL SOCIETY
The political system is based on a Multi-party system. Law 40 of 1977 regulates the formation of political parties in Egypt. This law prohibits the formation of political parties based on racial or religious . There are currently 14 political parties, the most active among which:
* National Democratic Party (NDP), led by President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, is the ruling party;
* The Greens Party, led by Hasan Rajab;
* Labor Party, led by Ibrahim Shukri;
* Liberal Party (LP), led by Mostafa Kamel Morad;
* Misr al-Fatah Party (Young Egypt Party), led by Ali al-Din Salih;
* Nasserist Arab Democratic Party, led by Dia'a-al din Dawoud
* New Wafd Party (NWP), led by Fu'ad Siraj Eldin;
* National Progressive Unionist Rally (NPUR), led by Khalid Muhi Eldin;
* Umma Party, led by Ahmad al-Sabahi;
In addition to political parties, a large number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) exist. Those include NGOs working in the fields of poverty alleviation, environment, women and human rights. Furthermore, there are several business association, trade unions and independent political, social and cultural think tanks and research centers.


FOREIGN POLICY

Objectives
Egypt's Foreign Policy is mainly determined by the prerogatives of socio economic development, the maintenance of national security, and contributing to the enhancement of regional and international peace and stability. Accordingly, Egypt's basic foreign policy orientations are:
* The enhancement of Egypt's regional and international relations in support of the process of socio-economic liberalization, structural reform and full integration in the global economy, which are seen as the best means to achieve real economic development. In that vein, Egypt was a founding member, and an active participant in the work of the WTO. It is also seeking deepening its economic relations with the major world economies through bilateral arrangements including the joint "Declaration on Partnership" between Egypt and Japan issued during the visit of President of Hosni Mubarak to Japan in 1995, the "Partnership for Development" with the United States of America and the soon to be concluded Association Agreement with the European Union (see also the Economy section).
* The active participation in efforts to create a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. Egypt was the first Arab country to enter into a peace treaty with the state of Israel in 1979. This treaty was based on the principle of "land for peace" according to which Israel withdrew from the occupied Sinai peninsula in exchange for normal peaceful relations with Egypt. However Egypt has always believed that peace in the Middle East, to be lasting, has to be comprehensive and has therefore constantly provided all the necessary help for the negotiating partners in the peace process to apply this basic formula, by which Israel would have to withdraw from the territories it occupied since 1967, allow the creation of a Palestinian independent state and recognize its political rights in Jerusalem. The Land for peace principle has also been the internationally recognized basis for settling the Middle East conflict as enshrined in Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 425, as well as in the Madrid process. On the other hand, the achievement of a stable peace also requires the creation of arrangements for maintaining security for all parties, including freeing the region from all weapons of mass destruction. It also requires the establishment of a framework for regional cooperation that would both stabilize peace, and enable the peoples of the region to reap its benefits.
* Promoting Arab cooperation in all fields, out of a belief in the increased importance of regional integration in an increasingly globalizing world order. In addition to the political, cultural and historical foundations for promoting inter-Arab cooperation, Egypt believes that such cooperation is also made imperative by the requirements of dealing with the challenges, and benefiting from the opportunities, offered by the globalized world market. Therefore, Egypt is leading the process of the revitalization of Arab cooperation, primarily through the creation of an Arab Free Trade Area as well as through increased inter Arab investment.
* Developing south-south cooperation through several groupings, including Africa, the Islamic countries, and the developing world at large. In this regard Egypt's priorities are: to promote the peaceful resolution of regional as well as domestic conflicts among and within developing countries, with an emphasis on the role of regional mechanisms and organizations in this process, to further south-south economic cooperation, both through the traditional regional organization (such as Organization of African Unity, The Organization of Islamic Countries, the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement) and through new more informal groupings (such as the Group of 15, the Developing 8).
* Fulfilling Egypt's responsibilities in furthering international peace, stability and cooperation through active participation in international organizations, particularly the United Nations, its peace keeping operations and its specialized agencies. Egypt believes that the current state of international affairs requires the strengthening of the United Nations to enable it to face the old as well as the new problems of international relations. This requires increasing democracy and transparency in the organization and, particularly of the Security Council.