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Friday, 20 July 2018

Egyptian parliament to vote Monday on unseating MP Anwar El-Sadat

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 26 Feb 2017
Anwar El-Sadat
MP Anwar El-Sadat (Photo Courtesy of his Facebook account)
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Egypt's parliament will vote Monday whether to strip high-profile MP Anwar El-Sadat of his membership.

The vote would come after the legislative and constitutional affairs committee approved on Sunday a proposal to remove El-Sadat from parliament.

According to the constitution, two thirds of MPs must approve the motion against Sadat in order for it to be valid. The vote must be conducted through a roll call.

Sources told Ahram Online that if finally stripped of membership, El-Sadat might be referred to prosecution for investigation.

The motion against Sadat came after members of the ethics committee and the legislative and constitutional affairs committee found him guilty of three accusations: leaking a draft NGOs law to EU ambassadors in Egypt, leaking national security information to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and faking the signatures of 16 colleague MPs on two laws he had drafted on criminal procedures and NGOS.

El-Sadat, nephew of late president Anwar El-Sadat and head of the liberal Reform and Development Party, has vehemently denied the accusations.

Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, head of the parliament's legislative committee, said El-Sadat was allowed adequate time to defend himself before the committee.

"He refused to come on Sunday and sent his MP colleague and lawyer Ahmed El-Bardisi to defend him," he said.

Abu Shoqa said the majority of the committee's 49 members have found El-Sadat guilty of the three charges, and that while most MPs agreed that El-Sadat must be punished, they differed on what penalties should be imposed on him.

"But at the end most members said the harshest penalty should be imposed on El-Sadat because what he has done has sent a very negative message about the parliament of Egypt," said Abu Shoqa.

El-Sadat’s defence

El-Sadat has repeatedly denied accusations that he was involved in collecting and forwarding classified information to foreign institutions.

In a 140-page statement issued on 21 February, El-Sadat said that he had not leaked a copy of the government-drafted NGO law to the Dutch ambassador in Cairo.

"The draft of this law was made public several months ago, not to mention that the social solidarity ministry made it available on the internet so that civil society organisations could discuss it in a national dialogue," said El-Sadat in his statement.

The Dutch ambassador himself had announced in a public statement that he had never met the MP in person, El-Sadat said.

"In addition, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali announced that the government had never sent a draft NGO law to parliament and what was finally approved by parliament was a NGO law which was drafted by MPs," he wrote.

In response to the second accusation, El-Sadat said the constitution and parliament's internal bylaws do not oblige MPs to collect signatures in support of laws they draft.

“Some MPs gave their signatures, but they decided later to withdraw them" he said. “Another group of MPs gave signatures on behalf of other MPs because this is a normal procedure in parliament."

Regarding the third accusation, El-Sadat denied that he had sent classified information to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

"It was just a press statement and message to parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal and the IPU in both Arabic and English, urging him to do his best improving the performance of Egypt's parliament," he said, arguing that "the constitution gives MPs the right to comment on the internal performance of parliament and propose recommendations aimed at improving this performance."

El-Sadat's 140-page statement concluded by urging members of the legislative and constitutional affairs committee not to take a "politicised stance" against him. 

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