Egypt spans two continents—Africa and Asia— and has about 110 million residents. Its history is long, dating back millennia. Most of the country’s residents live along the Nile River, especially in the major cities of Cairo and Alexandria. After various rulers and occupations, Egypt was declared a republic in 1953. There were major protests in 2011 because of the actions of then-President Hosni Mubarak. The following two years saw a political crisis resulting from the election of Mohamed Morsi as president. Finally, a new Constitution was enacted in 2014 because of overwhelming support for its referendum.
The Egyptian Parliament is a bicameral body consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. There are currently 300 members of the Senate and 596 members of the House.
The 2014 Constitution requires the House to have at least 450 members, with a maximum of five percent being appointed by the president. House members must be at least 25 years old, hold an education certificate, and must be Egyptian citizens. The House of Representatives is responsible for reviewing treaties and agreements, drafting and passing legislation, approving the country’s budget, amending the Constitution, and approving declarations of war.
The Egyptian Senate was reestablished in 2019 by amendment after the 2014 Constitution made the legislature a unicameral body. In the Senate, members serve for a five-year term. Of the 300 Senators, one-third are elected directly by district, one-third by proportional vote, and the final third are appointed by the president. Senators primarily give opinions and proposals concerning national unity, the structure of the government, and constitutional amendments.
The Egyptian presidency was established after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Initially, the president was elected in a unique way. Parliament would propose a candidate and voters would approve or disapprove of the candidate via referendum. In 2012, the first free and fair presidential election in Egypt took place following the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.
Egypt’s president is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, but cannot declare war or send troops to a foreign territory without consulting the National Defense Council and obtaining majority approval from the members of Parliament.
To be eligible for president in Egypt, a candidate must be Egyptian born to Egyptian parents, cannot be married to a non-Egyptian, and have no other citizenship. Presidents serve a six-year term and can only be reelected once.
The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt was established in 1979. All judges are appointed by the president. Although they have lifetime appointments, there is a mandatory retirement age of 70 for all justices. The Court is tasked with deciding the constitutionality of laws, deciding on disputes in rulings of lower courts, and interpreting the laws of the legislative and executive bodies.