Parliament to vote on govt statement amid calls for no-confidence vote

Ahram Online, Tuesday 27 Mar 2012

MPs to make decision on Wednesday regarding 26 February government statement amid parliamentary calls to withdraw confidence from El-Ganzouri cabinet

Kamal El-Ganzouri
Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri in front of parliament (Photo:AP)

Egypt’s parliament is expected to issue a decision on Wednesday regarding a government statement to parliament, issued on 26 February, which included an assessment of the government’s performance over the last year and its plan for the year ahead.

The 19 committees of the People’s Assembly (the lower house of Egypt’s parliament) have already voiced their rejection of the government statement amid calls by MPs for a vote of no-confidence in the cabinet of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri.

Members of the parliamentary committees complain that the government statement “lacks content or perspective,” going on to describe it as “vague, with no timeline or concrete plans.”

According to a Sunday statement by the Muslim Brotherhood, the incumbent government has “proven its failure in running the country.” The statement cited last month’s Port Said football disaster – in which more than 70 people were killed – as but one recent example of government negligence.

El-Ganzouri’s speech to parliament, delivered the same day as the government statement, seems also to have left MPs unimpressed. Parliamentarians have already questioned several government ministers, including the prime minister, over their handling of a number of key issues.

Last week, the justice minister – who was expected to be questioned over his role in the murder of protesters during last year's uprising – and the petroleum minister – supposed to be questioned over Egypt’s ongoing fuel shortage – both failed to show up, further angering sitting MPs.

According to last year’s constitutional declaration, parliament lacks the authority to withdraw confidence from the government. It does, however, have the authority to block government proposals.

Last month, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party dominates parliament, declared its readiness to form a majority government. Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) was initially expected to amend the constitution to allow the parliamentary majority to form a government, but recent tensions between the SCAF and the Brotherhood now suggest otherwise.

Over the course of the last week, the SCAF and the Brotherhood have traded criticisms and threats. In its latest statement on Sunday, the Brotherhood laid into the military council, which, it claimed, was intentionally limiting parliament’s authority by maintaining the current government in power.

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