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Monday, 19 April 2021

Egyptian leftist MPs to form opposition bloc in new parliament

The bloc will include independents and deputies affiliated with the two political parties of El-Tagammu and the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 29 Dec 2020
Parliament
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Ahmed El-Sharkawi, an independent MP, revealed in an interview with parliamentary reporters on Monday that leftist MPs are currently holding intensive internal talks to form an opposition bloc in Egypt's newly-elected parliament.

El-Sharkawi, a leftist MP who won the seat of Al-Mansoura city in the Nile delta governorate of Daqahliya, said most of the leftist opposition deputies who formed what was known the 25-30 group in the outgoing parliament lost seats.

"Only two 25-30 group MPs won seats, myself and Diaaeddin Dawoud, the Nasserist MP of Damietta governorate," said El-Sharkawi.

As a result, El-Sharkawi said, "we are currently holding talks with independent MPs and leftist political parties, particularly El-Tagammu and the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, to form an opposition bloc in the new parliament.”

"While as many as 93 independent MPs (16.5 percent) won seats, the two political parties of Tagammu and the Egyptian Socialist Democratic got 13 seats (2.5 percent), and so we can use this number to form a bloc that can voice a strong opposition in the new parliament," said El-Sharkawi.

Sharkawi said there is a pressing need to have an opposition bloc in parliament as most of the political parties which swept the polls in the last two months are pro-government.

"In order to have an effective and healthy parliamentary life you should have a strong opposition bloc including MPs from different political backgrounds, particularly ones with leftist platforms," said El-Sharkawi.

Egypt's new parliament is preparing to hold its opening session in the next few days. Parliament's secretary-general Mahmoud Fawzi told reporters on Tuesday that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is expected to issue a decree setting the date of the opening session of the new parliament.

"We expect another presidential decree naming 28 appointees in the new parliament," said Fawzi, "so we are ready and we have different options on how to hold an opening session in which 596 MPs will be able to take the constitutional oath while observing the social distancing measures at the same time."

"When the coronavirus hit the country last March, parliament was able to overcome restrictions and resume holding meetings amid strict protective measures, and in the end, we were able to finish our legislative agenda on time and in a smooth way," said Fawzi.

Fawzi also said that the five-year term of Egypt's current parliament (2016-2021) will conclude on 9 January.

"The new parliament will be ready to hold meetings starting 10 January," said Fawzi.

Fawzi revealed that all the party list MPs (284 MPs) visited parliament over the last seven days to receive their membership cards.

"Besides, two-thirds of individual MPs have also got their cards and we hope that all will receive theirs before 10 January," said Fawzi.

Egypt's two-stage parliamentary elections were held between 24 October and 8 December. The pro-government Mostaqbal Watan Party swept the polls, gaining 315 seats (53 percent). Mostaqbal Watan's coalition with other pro-government political parties will give it a comfortable majority of 75 percent in the new parliament.

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