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Tuesday, 04 August 2020

Egyptian MPs say they reject 'reconciliation' with Muslim Brotherhood

Parliament is still considering whether to seat MP-elect Amr El-Shobaki after court rulings determined he was the winner of his constituency, and is also working on the new NGO law

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 15 May 2017
Egypt
Egypt's Parliament (AP)
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Osama Heikal, the head of parliament's media, culture and antiquities committee, said on Monday that parliament opposes any kind of reconciliation with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group at the moment.

"As the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organisation, and as it still insists on launching organised violent attacks against the state, and as it has so far refused to take any step towards reforming its religious agenda, it is completely rejected that parliament votes in favour of reaching reconciliation with this group," Heikal told journalists at a press conference.

Heikal argued that although Egypt's 2014 constitution states in Article 241 that a transitional justice law be issued as soon as possible to help the country reach a kind of "national reconciliation," this law can't be passed at the moment because it might lead to "reconciliation with the Brotherhood."

"Let all know that Egyptian society is against any kind of reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and so parliament can't accept such reconciliation at the moment," said Heikal.

Heikal said press conferences will be held on a regular basis to “stand up” to attacks against parliament.

"We have to highlight parliament's achievements in these conferences because parliament is part of the state and the people should be aware of its important roles," said Heikal.

No decision yet on byelection

Heikal also said parliament has not yet reached a decision on whether a court ruling to seat MP-elect and Al-Ahram political analyst Amr El-Shobaki should be implemented.

Heikal -- a former information minister and head of Egyptian Media Production City -- said "experts affiliated with parliament's legislative and constitutional affairs committee discovered that a final court ruling to seat El-Shobaki goes against the house's internal bylaws."

"While the court ruled that El-Shobaki was the actual winner of Giza governorate's Agouza and Dokki districts, rather than Ahmed Mortada Mansour, parliament's internal by-laws state that if an MP loses membership due to a court ruling, new elections should be held," said Heikal, referring to a court ruling last year that declared El-Shobaki the rightful winner of those districts in October 2015's parliamentary elections.

Heikal said parliament is keen that court rulings be implemented, but that "the issue needs to be investigated and discussed further by the legislative and constitutional affairs committee."

In November, the legislative and constitutional affairs committee accepted that Mansour should be replaced by El-Shobaki.

In July, the Court of Cassation ruled that El-Shobaki should be placed in parliament instead of Mansour, who had initially been declared the winner of Agouza and Dokki districts in December 2015. After reviewing a recount of the votes, the court found that El-Shobaki in fact beat Mansour by 301 votes, making him the winning candidate.

Work on NGO law continues

At Monday's press conference, Heikal also indicated that a new NGO law drafted and passed by parliament last November is expected to be redrafted.

Heikal said the NGO law, which has not yet been ratified by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, is still under discussion by the social solidarity committee.

"The committee's members are seeing whether some of its articles need to be redrafted," he said.
Heikal said press conferences will be held on a regular basis to respond to the local media's “hostile attacks” on parliament.

"The relationship between parliament and the media has not been good of late, so we decided that press conferences would be held on a regular basis to highlight parliament's achievements before public opinion," said Heikal.

He said that parliament ratified 340 presidentially issued laws and 82 new pieces of legislation in its first legislative season (between January and September 2016). It has passed 85 laws in its second session, which began in October 2016.
 

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