'Egypt still in state of danger,' says PM as govt receives vote of confidence

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 20 Apr 2016

The government of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail gained a vote of confidence in parliament on Wednesday with 433 MPs voting in favour according to an electronic tally

Egypt's PM Sherif Ismael (Reuters)

After a marathon of debates between 10 and 20 April, Egypt's government got its first vote of confidence in parliament, with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail saying afterwards that "Egypt is still in a state of danger and all state institutions and citizens should join forces to stand up to the challenges."

The vote of confidence was reached with 433 MPs voting in favour according to an electronic tally. Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al said the vote goes in line with the constitution and represents a new democratic step.

In a 10-minute speech ahead of the vote on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ismail addressed a wide array of domestic issues and challenges.

"We do not have the luxury of choosing between two options; success or failure, reform or corruption, and winning the war of the future or being defeated before the forces of the past," said Ismail.

He also said that his government intends to reform the country’s subsidy policy to make sure that "subsidies go to those who deserve them only."

Commenting on a report prepared by a special committee on his government's policy statement, which was delivered before parliament on 27 March, Ismail said his cabinet will take the recommendations listed by this report as "obligations."

"I insist that the government will implement these obligations with all required transparency and seriousness," he said.

He added that all state institutions should work in collaboration with each other so that Egypt can stand up to the challenges ahead.

According to Ismail, his government's biggest challenge is "achieving economic reform and social justice at the same time."

Ismail said that while his government is aiming to achieve an annual economic growth rate of 5.2 per cent, it will not let "poor classes suffer."

"While poor citizens have suffered so much and for so long, I vow that we will not let them suffer even more, and the middle class, which represents the backbone of Egypt, will be supported and conserved at all times," said Ismail.

He said his government is committed to cooperating closely with parliament in the coming period on all fronts.

"We will present our strategy for sustainable development in Egypt until the year 2030 to be discussed and ratified by parliament."

He also vowed that all laws stipulated by the constitution as priorities – particularly laws regulating media and the press and the formation of the national election commission – will be submitted to parliament soon.

Ismail said that all cabinet ministers will come before parliament to explain the plans of action of their respective ministries, adding that "a periodical report will be submitted to parliament every six months to show the progress of implementation of all national projects."

"We will explain in this report the status of projects being implemented in different areas – such as drinking water – how they are funded and a time schedule on when they will be completed," said Ismail. 

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