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Businessmen to run parliamentary business

Most of the leading positions of parliamentary committees went to the ruling NDP's business tycoons

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 22 Dec 2010
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As expected, business tycoons of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) got the lion's share as chairmen of the People Assembly's 19 committees.

Ahmed Ezz, NDP's secretary for organizational affairs and steel magnate, was elected chairman of the budget committee for the third time since 2000; and Mohamed Abul-Enein, an industrialist and a member of NDP's secretariat-general, retained his position as chairman of the industry and energy committee for the second time since 2005. In a big surprise, Tarek Talaat Mostafa, the famous construction magnate and the brother of Hisham Talaat Mostafa, a NDP business tycoon who is currently serving jail time for conspiracy to commit murder, was elected chairman of the transport and telecommunication committee instead of the housing committee that he has had headed since 2005.

Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the former minister of irrigation, was elected chairman of the housing committee.

In another surprise, Samir Radwan, an appointed MP, was elected chairman of the economic affairs committee. Radwan, Ezz, Abul-Enein and Mostafa are members of NDP's influential policies committee led by Gamal Mubarak.

Another number of businessmen were elected deputy chairmen of leading economic committees. A case in point is that of Abdel-Rahman Baraka, a banking tycoon, who was elected deputy chairman of the economic affairs committee, while Hosni Khalil, an Alexandrian businessman, was elected deputy chairman of the industry and energy committee.

In general, the leading posts of parliamentary committees were a surprising to a degree. Maher Wali, the brother of former agriculture minister and the current deputy chairman of the NDP, was elected chairman of the agriculture committee instead of NDP's veteran MP Abdel-Reheim El-Ghoul. Amin Radi, a former pilot, was elected chairman of the defence and national security committee instead of NDP's veteran deputy Farouk Taha. Intessar Nessim, an appointed Coptic MP, was elected chairman of the human rights committee instead of NDP's veteran Coptic MP Edward Ghali El-Dahabi. Nessim was chairman of the Higher Election Commission (HEC), which supervised last June's mid-term Shura Council elections that were swept by the ruling NDP.

In general, the ruling NDP decided to appoint new chairmen to 12 committees.

In addition to Abu Zeid, Radwan, Wali and Nessim, Sameh Farid, a member of NDP's policies committee, was elected chairman of the education committee. Ahmed El-Sherif, chief of the Ashraf syndicate and a NDP member, was elected chairmen of the religious and Awkaf (religious endowments) committee. Madiha Khattab, the sister of the Minister of Population and Family Affairs Moushira Khattab, was elected chairman of the health committee, and Amin Mubarak, the cousin of president Hosni Mubarak, was elected chairman of the culture, tourism and media affairs committee. Sameh Abu-Leil, a member of NDP's policies committee, was elected chairman of the local administration committee. Hamam Al-Adli, was elected chairman of the proposals and complaints' committee, Raouf Saad, a member of NDP's policies committee, was elected chairman of the foreign affairs committee and Hani Abu Rida, deputy chairman of the Egyptian Football Association, was elected chairman of the sports and youth committee.

Also, seven chairmen of committees in the outgoing assembly retained their positions. In addition to Ezz, Abul-Enein, Mostafa and Radi, Amal Othman was re-elected chairwoman of the legislative and constitutional affairs committee, Hussein Megawer, chairman of the General Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (GEFTU), was re-elected chairman of the labour force committee and Saad El-Gammal, a former police officer, retained his position as chairman of the Arab affairs committee.

Meanwhile, Abdel-Ahad Gamaleddin, a veteran MP and famous lawyer, retained his position as NDP's parliamentary spokesman. Fathi Sorour, speaker of the People's Assembly, told MPs that the Wafd party informed the Assembly that it has decided the party does not have a spokesman. “As a result,” said Sorour, “let me declare that the Wafd party does not have a parliamentary council in this assembly.” Sorour also said that MP Rafaat Abdel-Al was selected by the leftist Tagammu party to be its spokesman in parliament. Spokesmen for four lesser known opposition parties were also selected: Ragab Hilal Hemeida for the Ghad party; Mohamed Abdel-Al for the Social Justice party; Mahmoud Al-Kharouti for the Generation party; and Himdan Salama for the Democratic Peace party.

 

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