The speaker of Egypt’s parliament Ali Abdel-Al disclosed this week that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail will address MPs on security conditions in the governorate of North Sinai on Tuesday.
Abdel-Al indicated that Ismail’s statement will come after the government officially informs parliament of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to extend the state of emergency in North Sinai for three more months.
According to Article 154 of the constitution, the government must inform parliament of the president’s decision to implement a state of emergency within seven days, and that the decision – applicable for no more than three months – must be approved by two thirds of MPs.
Although al-Sisi decided on 29 April to extend the state of emergency, parliament was officially informed of the decision on 8 May.
Abdel-Al indicated that Article 131 of parliament’s internal bylaws states that the prime minister must come before parliament within 24 hours to inform MPs of the reason behind the extension.
“The decision (decree 187/2016) states that the extension of the state of emergency is necessary to fight terrorism in designated parts of North Sinai, contain the dangerous security conditions there, and safeguard the country’s eastern borders with the Gaza Strip against any terrorist threats,” said Abdel-Al.
The decree states that emergency measures are to be imposed in areas including the region from the east of Rafah Hill to El-Awga west of El-Arish.
A curfew will be imposed in the region from 7pm to 6am, though El-Arish city – the capital of North Sinai – and the international road from the El-Midan checkpoint to the entrance of El-Arish city from the east will see a four-hour curfew starting from 1am until 5am, or until further notice.
The decree states that any citizen found guilty of violating curfew hours could face imprisonment according to emergency law 162/1985.
Alaa Abdel-Moneim, the parliamentary spokesperson for the Support Egypt bloc, surprised all by denouncing the government’s failure to inform parliament of the extension in a timely manner.
“The government should have informed parliament of this decision earlier because although it was issued on 29 April, parliament was informed on 8 May, or after nine days,” said Abdel-Moneim, arguing that “this goes in violation of Article 154 of the constitution, which stipulates that parliament must be officially informed of the extension decision within seven days.”
“I urge the government to respect the constitution,” said Abdel-Moneim, also pointing out that “the government has not submitted the 2016/2017 state budget to parliament on time.”
”Instead of presenting this budget to parliament on 1 April, it came at a later date.”
In response, speaker Abdel-Al assured that the extension of the state of emergency in North Sinai will only go into effect after parliament’s approval.
“I also want to make it clear that while President al-Sisi referred the extension decree to the government on 4 May, the government sent it to parliament on 8 May, or within seven days,” said Abdel-Al.
Abdel-Al indicated that following the prime minister’s address, MPs representing North Sinai will be the first to take the floor to give a review of security conditions in the governorate.
The initial decision to impose a state of emergency came in August 2013 by then-interim president Adly Mansour after the violent unrest in the country following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Hundreds of security and army personnel have been killed in North Sinai since 2013, with Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, an Islamist militant group affiliated with the Islamic State, declaring responsibilityfor most attacks.
source: Ahram Online