PM to address parliament on ‎security conditions in North Sinai on Tuesday

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 9 May 2016

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail will address parliament ‎Tuesday on the president's decision to extend a ‎state of emergency in parts of North Sinai

In this photo provided by Egypt's state news agency MENA, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, meets with Petroleum Minister Sheriff Ismail in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015.(Photo:AP)

The speaker of Egypt's parliament Ali Abdel-Al disclosed this ‎week that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail will address MPs ‎on security conditions in the governorate of North Sinai ‎on Tuesday.

Abdel-Al indicated that Ismail's statement ‎will come after the government officially informs ‎parliament of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's decision ‎to extend the state of emergency in North Sinai for three more ‎months.‎

According to Article 154 of the constitution, the ‎government must inform parliament of the president's decision to implement a state of emergency ‎within seven days, and that the ‎decision – applicable ‎for no more than three months – must be approved by two thirds of MPs.‎

Although El-Sisi decided on 29 April to extend the state of ‎emergency, parliament was officially informed of the ‎decision on 8 May.

Abdel-Al indicated that Article ‎‎131 of parliament's internal bylaws states that the prime ‎minister must come before ‎parliament within 24 hours to inform MPs of the reason behind ‎the extension.

"The decision (decree 187/2016) states that the ‎extension of the state of emergency is necessary to fight ‎terrorism in designated parts of North Sinai, contain the ‎dangerous security conditions there, and safeguard the ‎country's eastern borders with the Gaza Strip against any ‎terrorist threats," said Abdel-Al.‎

The decree states that emergency measures are to ‎be imposed in areas including the region from the east of ‎Rafah Hill to El-Awga west of El-Arish.

A curfew will be ‎imposed in the region from 7pm to 6am, though El-‎Arish city – the capital of North Sinai – and the ‎international road from the El-Midan checkpoint to the ‎entrance of El-Arish city from the east will see a four-‎hour curfew starting from 1am until 5am, or until ‎further notice.‎

The decree states that any citizen found guilty of ‎violating curfew hours could face imprisonment according ‎to emergency law 162/1985.‎

Alaa Abdel-Moneim, the parliamentary spokesperson for ‎the Support Egypt bloc, surprised all ‎by denouncing the government's failure to inform parliament of the extension in a timely manner.

"The government should have ‎informed parliament of this decision earlier because although it was issued on 29 April, parliament was informed on 8 May, or after nine days," said Abdel-‎Moneim, arguing that "this goes in violation of Article ‎‎154 of the constitution, which stipulates that parliament ‎must be officially informed of the extension decision ‎within seven days."

"I urge the government to ‎respect the constitution," said Abdel-Moneim, also pointing out that "the government has not submitted ‎the 2016/2017 state budget to parliament on time."

‎‎"Instead of presenting this budget to parliament on 1 April, it came at a later date."‎

In response, speaker Abdel-Al assured that the ‎extension of the state of emergency in North Sinai will only go into effect after parliament's ‎approval.

"I also want to make it clear that while ‎President El-Sisi referred the extension decree to the ‎government on 4 May, the government sent it to ‎parliament on 8 May, or within seven days," said Abdel-‎Al.‎

Abdel-Al indicated that following the prime minister's ‎address, MPs representing North ‎Sinai will be the first to take the floor to give a review of ‎security conditions in the governorate.‎

The initial decision to impose a state of emergency ‎came in August 2013 by then-interim president Adly ‎Mansour after the violent unrest in the country ‎following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed ‎Morsi.

Hundreds of security and army personnel have ‎been killed in North Sinai since 2013, with Ansar Beit Al-‎Maqdis, an Islamist militant group affiliated with the Islamic State, declaring ‎responsibilityfor most attacks.‎ 

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