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Lawmakers In Egypt To Submit Request For Constitutional Amendments

Egyptian court had scheduled hearings on a petition by a number of Egyptian citizens demanding that the parliament speaker take steps to introduce constitutional changes that would allow Sissi to seek re-election after his second term in office expires.

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Members of Egypt's parliament convene in Cairo. VOA

A coalition of Egyptian parliamentarians will submit a request for constitutional amendments providing for a second chamber of parliament and the appointment of one or more deputy presidents, state news agency MENA reported on Saturday.

The move follows a separate attempt by a group of ordinary Egyptians to change presidential term limits in the constitution, which was adopted in 2014 after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi following protests against his rule.

Speculation has been rife that the authorities will seek changes to the constitution, which limits a president to two four-year terms in office, since President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s re-election in March in a vote against a marginal opponent.

The lawmakers’ proposed amendments will be presented to parliament speaker Ali Abdelaal on Sunday. Any changes need approval by two-thirds of parliament members, followed by a referendum.

FILE - Egyptian Shura Council members meet in the parliament's upper house, April 23, 2013.
Egyptian Shura Council members meet in the parliament’s upper house, April 23, 2013. VOA

MENA said the lawmakers’ proposed changes include restoring the Shura Council, an upper chamber that operated alongside the current 596-member House of Representatives, previously known as the People’s Assembly, until it was canceled in 2014; and the appointment of one deputy or more for the president.

The proposed amendments also include a quota guaranteeing women at least 25 percent of parliament seats, as well as “adequate representation” for youth, farmers, workers and the country’s Christian minority.

There was no word on any proposed changes to the limit on presidential terms, but the head of the “Support Egypt” coalition, which is spearheading the amendments, Abdel-Hadi al-Qassabi, said that parliament members were entitled to present a request to amend any article in the constitution.

melania trump
First Lady Melania Trump meets with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his wife Entissar Mohameed Amer at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt. VOA

Qassabi said that Article 226 of the constitution allows the president and a fifth of parliament members to propose an amendment to any article of the constitution.

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MENA said in December that an Egyptian court had scheduled hearings on a petition by a number of Egyptian citizens demanding that the parliament speaker take steps to introduce constitutional changes that would allow Sissi to seek re-election after his second term in office expires.

The petitioners argue that Article 140 of the constitution, which sets the term limits, is “unfair to the great Egyptian people” and that eight years gives a president little time to deal with the economic and security challenges facing the country. (VOA)

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Anti-Crypto Law Draft Proposes 10-Year Jail for Dealing in Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies

Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence

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Draft, Law, Jail, Bitcoin
Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world. Pixabay

Holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could soon land you in jail for 10 years.

The “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” draft has proposed 10-year prison sentence for persons who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies.

Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence.

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world.

Draft, Law, Jail, Bitcoin
) Holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could soon land you in jail for 10 years. Pixabay

Given the high chances of cryptocurrencies being misused for money laundering, various government bodies such as the Income Tax Department and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had endorsed banning of cryptocurrencies.

The draft bill for banning cryptocurrency has been in the works for some time with Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg leading the exercise.

While strict law would soon be in place to deal with people indulging in trade of cryptocurrency, India is likely to have its own digital currency.

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“A decision on the launch of Digital Rupee would be taken after consulting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said an official. (IANS)