Egyptian Parliament (Reuters)
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal announced in a plenary session on Tuesday that he had approved a request submitted by 95 MPs asking to refer leftist MP Ahmed Tantawi to the ethics committee fo disciplinary action.
"MPs accuse Tantawi of issuing statements that negatively impact the image of the Egyptian state and its institutions, and for this reason he should be investigated by the ethics committee in line with Article 30 of parliament's internal bylaws," Abdel-Aal said.
Tantawi, an unruly leftist MP, posted a 90-minute video on his Facebook account on Monday, asking the speaker to entrust 12 parliamentary committees with conducting a national dialogue on Egypt's political, economic and social problems.
Abdel-Aal said he is not interested in any national dialogue initiatives, in response to a question posed by MP Mahmoud Badr, who accused Tantawi of issuing an initiative that is in violation of the constitution.
A large number of MPs teamed up on Tuesday to attack Tantawi, saying that what he said in the video is not part of freedom of speech.
"Tantawi's video sent messages to outside forces which aim to spread instability and chaos in Egypt, and in particular we mean the hostile TV channels which target Egypt's leadership and government every day," said Sami Ramadan.
Ali Badr said, "Tantawi is fond of inciting against the state, and that his video aims to serve the Muslim Brotherhood channels broadcasting from Turkey and Qatar to push citizens to lose confidence in the state and political leadership."
Salah Hassaballah, head of the Freedom party and parliament's spokesperson, said Tantawi should be referred to the ethics committee for investigation of his statements, which serve foreign agendas and cast doubts on internal achievements.
In response, Abdel-Aal argued that freedom of speech is guaranteed for every citizen, but is not absolute.
"There are constitutional and legal restrictions which everybody knows quite well, and that when parliament discussed constitutional amendments in March and April, it held a national dialogue in which all, including the opposition, voiced their opinions," Abdel-Aal said.
”But when some come now to cast doubts on this and move to paint the country in a negative picture, they should go to another country to do this, because there are red lines that all should observe here, and these red lines include the political leadership, army and police forces,” he said.