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President, are named by the Egyptian Government. Of the remainder, fourteen are elected by the Provincial Councils from amongst their own members, one is elected by the town of Cairo, and one by Alexandria and some other less important towns. No Law or Decree “portant règlement d'administration publique” can be promulgated without its having been previously submitted to the Council. The Government are not obliged to adopt the views of the Council, but, in the event of their not doing so, the reasons for the rejection must be communicated to the Council. “L'exposition de ces motifs ne peut donner lieu à aucune discussion.' The Budget has to be submitted to the Council, who may
“ émettre des avis et des veux sur chaque chapitre du Budget.” The Government are, however, not obliged to conform to any views which may be expressed
expressed by the Council in connection with the Budget, nor may the latter discuss any financial charge incumbent on the Egyptian Treasury, which results from an international arrangement. The Egyptian Ministers may take part in the discussions of the Council
, or may cause themselves to be represented by any high functionaries of their respective Departments.
The Legislative Assembly consists of eighty-two members, viz. : The six Ministers, the thirty members of the Legislative Council, and forty-six delegates who are elected by the population. Certain qualifications are necessary in order to become a candidate for election to the Assembly. The candidate must be not less than thirty years old, he must be able to read and write, and he must pay direct taxes to the amount of not less than £E.30 a year. No new direct tax can be imposed without the approval of the Assenibly. The Assembly must also be consulted about any public loans, about the construction of canals and railways, and about the
classification of lands in connection with the payment of the land-tax. The Assembly may also spontaneously express its views on all economic, administrative, and financial questions. As in the case of the Legislative Council, the Government are not under any obligation to adopt the opinions of the Assembly in such matters, but the reasons for not adopting them must be stated. The Assembly must meet at least once in two years. The public are not admitted to the sittings either of the Council or of the Assembly.
In the last Report I wrote before leaving Egypt' I expressed myself favourably to the proposal that reporters should be admitted to the sittings of the Council. If this proposal encounters opposition, it will come, not from any European authority, but from the members of the Council themselves. I have reason to believe that, amongst these, a good deal of difference of opinion exists as to the desirability of effecting this reform.
Besides these institutions, the Organic Law of May 1, 1883, provided for the establishment of a Council of State (Conseil d'État) whose organisation and functions were to be explained in a subsequent Decree. This institution was borrowed from France. Its alleged object was to prepare draft laws for submission to the legislature. When I arrived in Egypt, in September 1883, I found that the formation of the Council of State was a burning question. It very soon became apparent that, under cover of this institution, international government was to be introduced into every branch of the Egyptian administration. The discussion went on for several months until, on January 19, 1884, I informed Lord Granville that the Council of State would be a useless and expensive body. Nubar Pasha was of the same opinion. Egypt 1 Egypt, No. 1 of 1907, p. 29.
was thus mercifully saved from this particular form of international plague.
Such, therefore, are the constitution and functions of the Egyptian Houses of Parliament. Lord Dufferin's law was conceived in a liberal and statesmanlike spirit. The leading idea was to give the Egyptian people an opportunity of making their voices heard, but at the same time not to bind the executive Government by parliamentary fetters, which would have been out of place in a country whose political education was so little advanced as that of Egypt.
The question of the extension of representative institutions in Egypt has recently formed the subject of much public discussion. I do not propose to deal with this question at any length. The main object of this work, which will, I fear, extend to greater length than I originally intended, is to narrate the history of the past, rather than to discuss questions which now occupy the attention of the public, and of the responsible Egyptian authorities. Moreover, my views on this particular issue have already been fully and publicly expressed. My remarks will, therefore, be very brief.
In the first place, I wish to say that Lord Dufferin was under no delusion as to the time which would elapse, and as to the difficulties which would have to be encountered before free institutions could take root in the somewhat uncongenial soil of Egypt. All he hoped to do was “to erect some sort of barrier, however feeble, against the intolerable tyranny of the Turks.” He hoped that, “under British superintendence," the legislative bodies which he created “might be fostered, and educated into fairly useful institutions, proving a · Vide, inter alia, Egypt, No. 1 of 1906, pp. 11-13;
Egypt, No. 1 of 1907, pp. 38, 26-32, and 66; and Egypt, No. 3 of 1907.
convenient channel through which the European element in the Government might obtain an insight into the inner mind and the less obvious wants of the native population.”? There cannot be a shadow of doubt that, far from considering that progress had been objectionably slow, Lord Dufferin was not merely gratified, but also somewhat astonished at the extent to which, up to the time of his death, the services of the institutions, of which he was the creator, had been utilised.
Next, I have to observe that, if anything is to be done in the direction of a further development of the institutions created in 1883, by far the wisest course will be to begin at the bottom of the legislative ladder. “ It is certain,” Lord Dufferin very truly said in his Report, “ that local self-government is the fittest preparation and most convenient stepping-stone for anything approaching to a constitutional régime.” During the last twentyfour years, a good deal more has been done in the way of developing local self-government than many of those who write on Egyptian affairs seem to be aware of.?
In many of the most important provincial towns, Mixed Municipalities - that is to say, municipal bodies of which some of the members are European and others are Egyptian-have been established. The difficulty of extending the system lies in the fact that whilst, on the one hand, no very great or rapid progress can be made unless the Municipal Commissioners are invested with certain powers of local taxation, on the other hand, no local taxes can be imposed on Europeans without the consent of the Powers. Hence, until the régime of the
1 These passages are quoted from a letter addressed to me by Lord Dufferin. It is given in Sir Alfred Lyall's Life of the Marquis of Dufferin, vol. ii.
* This branch of the subject is more fully treated in my Report for the year 1906. See Egypt, No. 1 of 1907, pp. 29-32.
Capitulations is modified, it will not be possible to create Mixed Municipalities in any towns unless the whole of the population are willing to submit to a system of voluntary taxation.
In a large number of other towns, Local Commissions have been appointed who administer the funds placed at their disposal by the Egyptian Government.
It is, I think, in the direction of increasing the numbers and extending the powers of the Municipalities and Local Commissions that the principal development of local self-government is, in the near future, to be anticipated. Care, however, will have to be taken in dealing with this matter. One of the greatest errors into which Europeans employed in the East are liable to fall is to imagine that Orientals are as much impressed as they are themselves with the necessity of speedily providing roads, drains, lighting, and all the other paraphernalia of civilisation. The present race of Egyptians are, indeed, willing enough to profit by all these things, if they are provided for them from the proceeds of general taxation, but the crucial question is whether they are themselves willing to pay additional taxes in order to attain these objects. They have not, up to the present time, shown much disposition to do so. It will be wise, therefore, not to force the pace.
It should always be remembered that what the mass of the population in a backward Eastern country care for above almost all things is that taxation should be light,
As regards the Provincial Councils, a detail which slipped into the Organic Law of 1883—very possibly without its effect being fully realised—has done a good deal to impair their utility. It was laid down that no Provincial Council could meet without being convoked by the Moudir, and that the latter could not convoke the Council without the