The spokespersons of 19 political parties in Egypt’s parliament – the House of Representatives – will meet President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday to discuss a variety of national issues.
The meeting will also include heads of trade unions, professional syndicates, human rights organisations, the National Council for Women, and a number of high-profile media figures.
Secretary-general of parliament Ahmed Saadeddin told reporters Tuesday that parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al and his two deputies – El-Sayed El-Sherif and Soliman Wahdan – will not participate in the meeting.
“The presidential invitations were directed to parliamentary spokespersons and five independents only,” said Saaeddin.
Alaa Abed, the parliamentary spokesperson of the Free Egyptians Party – which holds 65 seats – told reporters that he received an invitation for a meeting with President al-Sisi on Wednesday morning.
“We have also received phone calls from the presidency stating that the meeting will be held at Ittihadiya presidential palace on Wednesday morning,” said Abed.
Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, the parliamentary spokesperson of the liberal Wafd Party – which holds 36 seats –told reporters that Wafd welcomes President al-Sisi’s invitation.
“I think that the meeting comes within the context of President al-Sisi’s keenness to explore the views of the country’s major national forces on the current political and economic policies,” said Abu Shoqa.
He added that the invitation did not specify whether there will be an agenda for the meeting.
“I think this meeting will be similar to the one President El-Sisi held with the country’s intellectual elite [on 22 March],” said Abu Shoqa, adding that “in these kinds of meetings, El-Sisi prefers listening to others to talking.”
“We do not have an agenda, but we have a list of economic and political priorities we want to discuss with President El-Sisi,” said Abu Shoqa, adding that”it is highly important for the president of the republic to hold regular meetings with major political forces, as this allows forces to direct questions about controversial issues and seek answers from the head of the state.”
Mohamed Khalifa, the parliamentary spokesperson for the ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party, also told reporters that he received an invitation to attend the meeting.
Mohamed Badrawi, the parliamentary spokesperson of the National Movement Party, told reporters that he believes the date of the meeting is important because it comes just one week before parliament will decide whether it will grant or withhold confidence from the government of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.
“Although the government will be granted a vote of confidence, all political forces in parliament believe that this confidence will come not out of conviction, but rather because they have no choice in this respect,” said Badrawi.
“If I am given the floor, I will be clear in telling El-Sisi that this is one of the worst governments we have ever seen in the history of Egypt.”
“This government has pushed the country into a severe economic crisis, while the prime minister is a highly technocratic person who lacks any popularity,” said Badrawi.
Badrawi also said that he believes that four main issues will dominate the meeting; the economic crisis, Saudi King Salman’s recent five-day visit to Egypt, the controversy over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir – which Egypt recently decided to hand over to Saudi Arabia – and the case of Italian student Regeni, who was killed in Cairo last January.
Badrawi lamented that he was not allowed to deliver a statement on the Regeni case in parliament.
“While the EU and Italian parliaments were allowed to open a debate on this issue, I wonder why Egyptian MPs are not allowed to do the same,” Badrawi.
A 13-member parliamentary delegation left Cairo for Strasbourg, France on Sunday to respond to attacks related to the Regeni murder case and the state of human rights in Egypt in general.
“We prepared a report aimed at responding to all attacks, with all the necessary documents, statistics and photos attached,” said MP Ahmed Said, the head of the Egyptian parliamentary delegation to Strasbourg. \
source: Ahram Online