Egyptian Engineering Syndicate crises: Questions of confidence

Ahmed Morsy , Tuesday 13 Jun 2023

On 30 May, social media was awash with photos and videos showing the storming of the Conference Centre in Nasr City during the counting of votes on a motion withdrawing confidence from Tarek Al-Nabarawi, head of the Egyptian Engineering Syndicate.

The engineering syndicate-Egypt-Tarek Al- Nabarawy-the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Right
The engineering syndicate-Egypt-Tarek Al- Nabarawy-the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights


“Voting started in a normal atmosphere, under the supervision of a judicial committee, but as the process of counting was close to completion, with all the indications pointing to a rejection of the motion to withdraw confidence from the head of the Engineers Syndicate, unknown persons stormed the counting headquarters,” said a statement by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).

Videos circulating online show counters being assaulted and ballot boxes and papers being destroyed by a cohort of what many called “thugs”.

MP Alaa Abed, deputy head of the majority Mostaqbal Watan Party, insisted in a TV interview earlier this week that his party had nothing to do with the storming of the vote. He was responding to a question from TV presenter Amr Adib who had asked the reasons why “the public is convinced that Mostaqbal Watan was behind the attack on the Voting and Counting Committee in the Conferences Hall at Nasr City.”

The prosecutor-general has ordered an investigation after complaints were submitted following the storming of the vote.

MP Maha Abdel-Nasser, the vice president of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, who witnessed the attack and filmed a video, was among the petitioners to submit a complaint to the prosecutor-general.

Posting on her official Facebook page following the incident, Abdel-Nasser said she would “submit an official request to the speaker of the House to refer four MPs who appeared among the thugs to investigation by the Ethics Committee”.

Other eyewitnesses, backed by people who have viewed videos of the attack, say the four MPs among those who stormed the General Assembly are affiliated with Mostaqbal Watan.

The majority party subsequently issued a statement denying the claims and justifying the presence of a number of party leaders during the attack, claiming that they are engineers and members of the syndicate. Saheeh Masr, a Twitter account that verifies material posted online, questioned the veracity of the majority party’s statement, saying “three of the MPs identified in videos are neither members of the syndicate nor enlisted in the General Assembly but are members of the party.”

Abed went on to claim that the majority party Mostaqbal Watan was being attacked by “minority political currents” which are making arbitrary accusations at a time when presidential elections are approaching and the National Dialogue is discussing election laws.

Asked if she wanted to respond to Abed’s remarks, Abdel-Nasser replied that “the whole issue is now in the hands of the prosecutor-general”. She told Al-Ahram Weekly that she has been advised that “it’s now the work of the prosecution and nothing else needs to be done on my part.”

The ECESR, Court of Cassation attorney Ahmed Fawzi, and attorney at the High Court of Appeal Mohamed Eissa have all submitted complaints to Prosecutor-General Hamada Al-Sawy.

According to the ECESR, its complaint has been submitted on behalf of syndicate members Adel Wasili, Maha Al-Gazzar and Magdi Abdel-Hamid. The petition calls for examination of CCTV footage of the attack to pave the way for legal measures to be taken against those involved.

The result of the voting had not been declared as Al-Ahram Weekly went to press.

In a TV interview, Abdel-Nasser said the reasons why an extraordinary General Assembly was convened to vote on the withdrawal motion date back to March when, during the ordinary General Assembly, the head of the syndicate proposed a number of bylaws that provoked the ire of some members of the syndicate board. The by-laws included one “to prevent members of the syndicate board from becoming board members of companies owned by the syndicate, and to prevent the sale of the shares of any of these companies,” according to Abdel-Nasser.

When the bylaws were approved by the General Assembly in March, syndicate board members halted their implementation and called for confidence to be withdrawn from the syndicate’s head.

Though a confidence motion normally includes the board as well as the syndicate head, Al-Nabarawi agreed and called the extraordinary General Assembly which was held on 30 May.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 1 June, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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