Egypt parliament gets down to business Tuesday

Egypt’s parliament will begin its fourth legislative session on Tuesday. Article 115 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution obliges the president to invite parliament to convene before the first Thursday of the month of October every year.

Tuesday’s opening plenary meeting will be largely procedural. The speaker, his two deputies, and the spokespersons of political parties will give speeches followed by the speaker asking MPs to hold separate meetings to elect leaders for parliament’s 25 committees.

A senior government official – Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly or Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan – should also attend the opening meeting to address MPs on the government’s preparations for the new legislative season.

PM Madbouly met with a number of high-profile MPs, led by first deputy speaker El-Sayed El-Sherif, on 25 September. The meeting, attended by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Marawan, focused on the government’s legislative agenda for the new parliamentary season.

Abdel-Moneim El-Oleimi, an independent MP who participated in the meeting, told Ahram Online that MPs were keen to raise a number of issues with PM Madbouly.

“Madbouly said he is keen for government and parliament to closely coordinate together during the coming session, and he proposed that MPs and government officials hold meetings on a periodical basis to tackle urgent issues related to health, education and the daily lives of ordinary Egyptians,” El-Oleimi said.

MP Sayed Abdel-Aal, head of the leftist Tagammu party, also told the media that “MPs were keen to know the government’s strategy in fighting monopolies on the local market, containing inflation, and exerting more tight supervision on retail prices.”

“MPs were more than eager to know how the government will be able to contain the negative impact of IMF-led economic reforms on poor and limited-income citizens,” said Abdel-Aal.

According to an official statement, Prime Minister Madbouly told MPs that “the government faces two challenges in the coming period and it needs the help of parliament.”

“The first one is to control the runaway population growth, and the second is to stem the country’s public debts,” said the statement.

Finance Minister Mohamed Maeet told the media on 27 September that the government aims to cut public debts down from 98 to 92 percent in 2018/19 and to 70 percent of GDP in 2021/22.

Abdel-Aal said the prime minister suggested that the government impose punitive measures in a bid to control population growth.

“Campaigns aimed at raising awareness about this serious problem are not enough, and we need punitive measures in the area of birth control,” said PM Madbouly.

Abdel-Aal also said that Madbouly “asked parliament’s help to control the debts of local media, particularly those incurred by Maspero (Egypt’s Radio and Television Union).”

The newly-elected head of parliament’s majority bloc Support Egypt will also address MPs during the opening meeting.

Ahmed El-Sigini, head of the Local Administration Committee and the new secretary-general of the Support Egypt coalition, told reporters on Sunday that his “main job in the coming period is to keep the coalition intact, efficient, effective and disciplined.”

Changes to the local councils and the criminal procedures laws are expected to be the subject of animated debates during the coming session.

El-Oleimi expects that a new law regulating the tenant-landlord relationship will also dominate debates.

“This law, issued in 1964, should be amended to correct this relationship and to particularly address injustice done to landlords who have repeatedly complained that the 50-year-old law led to freezing rents,” said El-Oleimi, unveiling that “draft amendments of the law propose an annual 25 percent rise in rents and over four years, after which the relationship will be governed by the civil code.”

Source: Ahram Online

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