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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Egypt's parliament to discuss 'Friday protests' ‎when it reconvenes Tuesday

MPs, in their final legislative season, say they should join hands with the ‎state in its war against terrorism and hostile ‎media campaigns led by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 30 Sep 2019
Egyptian Parliament (Reuters)
Egyptian Parliament (Reuters)
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Following a three-month summer recess, Egypt's ‎parliament – the House of Representatives – will ‎reconvene on Tuesday for the fifth, and last, season of its five-year ‎term. ‎

The opening session on 1 October will be largely ‎procedural. Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal will ‎start off by reading out presidential decrees ‎inviting parliament to reconvene before the first ‎Thursday of October.‎

Abdel-Aal will open the door for MPs who want to ‎run in the election for the leading posts of ‎parliament's 25 committees. Each MP will be ‎required to join two committees in order to be ‎able to have voting powers on laws slated to be ‎discussed by these two committees. Each MP, ‎however, has the right to attend the meetings of ‎all other committees but without having voting ‎powers.‎

On Wednesday, and once the final lists of ‎committee memberships are complete, MPs will ‎meet to elect the leading posts. Each one has to ‎elect a chairman, two deputies, and one secretary-‎general. ‎

The parliamentary majority "Support Egypt" ‎coalition has held many meetings recently to draft its final list of candidates for ‎the leading posts of the House committees.‎

A number of high-profile ‎businessmen are expected to be re-elected, ‎such as the chairmen of economic committees. ‎These includes Farag Amer (the Industrial ‎Committee), Hussein Eissa (Budget), Ahmed Samir (Economic Affairs), Amr Sedki (Tourism), Ahmed ‎Badawi (Telecommunications), Ahmed El-Sigini (Local Administration), Gibali El-Maraghi (Manpower), Mohamed Kamal Marie (Small-Scale ‎Industries), Talaat El-Sewedi (Energy and ‎Environment), Sami Hashem (Education), ‎and Hisham Abdel-Wahed (Transport).‎

Bahaeddin Abu Shoka, the leader of the ‎opposition Wafd Party, is also expected to be re-‎elected chairman of the influential Legislative and ‎Constitutional Affairs Committee. Abdel-Hadi El-‎Qasabi, the leader of the majority coalition, is also ‎expected to retain his post as chairman of the ‎Social Solidarity Committee.‎

The same thing is expected to go for Ahmed Raslan (head ‎of the Arab Affairs Committee), Tarek Radwan ‎‎(head of the African Affairs Committee), ‎Kamal Amer (head of the Defence and National ‎Security Committee), and Osama Heikal (Media, ‎Culture and Antiquities).‎

The results of the elections of parliament's ‎committees will be announced on Sunday.‎

MPs will also select a new secretary-general to ‎replace the incumbent Ahmed Saadeddin who ‎earlier this month announced he would be leaving ‎his post for "private reasons".‎

Parliament's Spokesperson Salah Hassaballah told ‎reporters that though procedural, Tuesday's ‎inaugural session was expected to open a debate on ‎the repeated attempts by Muslim Brotherhood-‎linked TV channels broadcasting from Turkey and ‎Qatar to stir up protests in Egypt. ‎

Hassaballah said many MPs asked Parliament ‎Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal to give them the floor to ‎propose stricter measures that should stand up to ‎the Brotherhood's hostile media campaigns. Some ‎MPs suggested laws on cyber crimes be ‎amended to prosecute those who post online ‎videos inciting violence and illegal protests and ‎spread fake news. Others proposed the government ‎take greater measures to rid its offices of any ‎Muslim Brotherhood remnants. 

"MPs believe that ‎all necessary measures should be invoked to ‎reinforce Egypt's stability and stand up to any ‎conspiracies aimed at and pushing the country into ‎the road of chaos again," said Hassaballah.‎

Amendments of political laws are expected to ‎dominate the agenda of parliament's final legislative season. ‎Topping the agenda are laws regulating the ‎performance and election of local councils, the ‎House of Representatives, the Senate, and the ‎redrawing of electoral districts.‎

Draft economic laws will primarily cover the areas ‎of taxes, the rents of non-housing units, and small-scale enterprises.

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