Parliament

Egypt's MPs caught voting for each other with new electronic system

Videos of members of parliament abusing the electronic voting system to cast ballots on behalf of colleagues circulated on Tuesday, in the latest of several embarrassing scenes that have cast doubt on the performance of Egypt's new parliament in its first few weeks in session.

Several local websites ran videos of members pressing their own buttons and then pressing as many as three others belonging to those who were inexplicably absent.

The parliament is currently racing to revise over 300 laws issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and interim President Adly Mansour in the absence of a legislative body. The constitution set a deadline for this process of two weeks after the convening of parliament, or the laws will be automatically revoked.

The electronic voting system, which was activated for the first time in the history of Egypt's parliament last Sunday, works with a smart card that every member inserts into a voting unit to confirm their identity before casting their vote. However, the system did not account for members who leave their cards plugged in and leave the room.

Weaknesses in the system became apparent on the first day of its use. On Sunday, the monitor listed the total number of votes at 693, exceeding the total number of members in parliament.

The expedited law-reviewing process has so far led to the approval of dozens of laws.

Members of parliament have attempted to keep the details of the closed sessions secret following ridicule on social media after the first session.

The members decided last week to temporarily ban the live broadcast of sessions. On Sunday, security banned 20 journalists from entering the session, a move that was heavily criticized by the Journalists Syndicate.