Egypt MPs to hold unscheduled plenary meeting on Sunday to discuss 'urgent issues'

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 13 Jan 2018

Sources say the meeting might be devoted to voting on an expected cabinet reshuffle or listening to a speech by Ethiopia's prime minister

File Photo: Constitutional expert Ali Abdel-Al (Photo: Al-Ahram)

A statement released by parliament's press office on Saturday said that House speaker Ali Abdel-Aal is calling on MPs to meet in an extraordinary plenary meeting Sunday at 12pm, though it did not specify the reason behind the unscheduled meeting.

The statement simply said that "the invitation comes in line with Article 277 of parliament's internal bylaws."

"The last paragraph of this article states that for extraordinary reasons or upon the request of the president of the republic or prime minister, the speaker of the House can invite MPs to meet in a plenary session ahead of the scheduled one," the press statement said.

The House secretariat-general led by Ahmed Saadeddin has sent invitations to parliament's 596 members, urging them to come on time for “urgent reasons.”

Some MPs have speculated that the extraordinary plenary meeting tomorrow might be devoted to listening to a speech by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, or to discuss and vote on an expected cabinet reshuffle.

Article 147 of Egypt's 2014 constitution states that the president may invoke a cabinet reshuffle after consultation with the prime minister and the approval of parliament by an absolute majority of attending members, who must be no less than one-third of the total.

Some MPs, particularly Mohamed El-Sewedi, the head of the 370-member Support Egypt parliamentary bloc, have complained about the “poor performance” of some cabinet ministers and their refusal to come to parliament to be questioned.

Housing minister Mostafa Madbouly was appointed as acting prime minister last November after Prime Minister Sherif Ismail left for Germany to receive medical treatment.

Although Ismail returned Egypt on 21 December, he has not shown up for cabinet meetings.

Other sources say that the extraordinary session will be held so that MPs can listen to an address by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Ethiopia's ambassador in Cairo Taye Atske-Selassie held a meeting with members of parliament's African Affairs Committee last month, telling them that Desalegan would visit Cairo in the second half of December.

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukri visited Ethiopia at the end of December, also affirming that preparations are under way for Desalegan's visit to Cairo.

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