Reuters International

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's parliament approved a civil service law on Tuesday aimed at combating corruption and bureaucracy after making amendments to the bill, the only one it had previously rejected out of hundreds put forward by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Lawmakers voted 401 to 26 in favour of the law, which regulates about 6.5 million state employees. Sisi has said Egypt could manage with just 1 million, an indication of his intention to prune back drastically.

Thousands of government workers protested against the law when it was first issued, saying it reduced their benefits and allowed officials to promote whoever they liked to high-ranking posts, as opposed to the current system based on seniority.

Members of parliament made changes to restore some of the benefits and to make it harder to sack staff, though not as hard as before the bill was put forward.

The law also introduces performance reviews, which could lead to job losses. It is part of a difficult reform package that includes subsidy cuts and a new value-added tax.

(Reporting by Nashat Hamdy; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)


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