EPW Week in Brief – April 3-9, 2019

04/10/2019 . By TIMEP

Summary

  • A subcommittee of the Constitutional Affairs committee finalized its report on feedback to the proposed constitutional amendments and sent it to the full committee to deliberate. After two days of discussions, Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel ‘Al formed a subcommittee consisting of himself and four other representatives to draft the committee’s final report on the proposed amendments.
  • The proposed constitutional amendments are expected to be discussed in plenary session for the first time on April 16.
  • Following a week of violence between warring factions in Libya, Abdel ‘Al hosted Speaker of the House of Representatives for the Tobruk government, Aguila Saleh Issa. The two officials discussed their mutual aspirations for a peaceful resolution to the violence across the country.

Notable Developments

Constitutional Affairs Committee Finalizing Amendments:

A subcommittee of the Constitutional Affairs committee tasked with compiling feedback on the constitutional amendments completed its review of the various proposals on April 4 and subsequently referred its findings to the full committee. The Constitutional Affairs Committee convened April 8 and 9 under Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel ‘Al’s leadership to discuss the subcommittee’s report. Following two days of discussions, Abdel ‘Al formed a separate subcommittee consisting of himself and the leadership of the Constitutional Affairs Committee to draft the final report on the proposed constitutional amendments. According to committee Chairman Bahaa Abu Shoqa, the amendments will be discussed in plenary session for the entire legislature on Tuesday, April 16, with  a roll call vote by the entire legislature expected shortly afterward. A two-thirds vote is required for the amendments to be considered approved and subsequently referred to national referendum.

As the amendments were progressing through the Constitutional Affairs Committee, political parties continued to promote the proposed amendments. The Nation’s Future Party is expected to hold events later this week in Giza promoting the proposal, while the party already organized a forum in the United Arab Emirates with Egyptian expatriates to encourage them to participate in the anticipated national referendum. Additionally, the Free Egyptians Party held a promotional event for the amendments in Sixth of October City.

Abdel ‘Al Welcomes Haftar-Supported Libyan Officials:

Abdel ‘Al hosted Libyan House of Representatives Speaker Aguila Saleh Issa of the Tobruk government. This follows nearly a week of military advances by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces toward Tripoli, the location of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord. During their meeting, Abdel ‘Al stated that Egypt supports a peaceful resolution to ongoing hostilities in Libya, while also calling on the international community to cease interfering in Libyan internal affairs. Issa asserted that the LNA possesses 90 percent of Libyan territory.

Other Developments

In Legislation:

A cabinet subcommittee drafting a new law to regulate nongovernmental organizations and replace the controversial 2017 NGO Law finalized the new bill and subsequently referred it to the cabinet for ministerial review. Following cabinet approval, the bill will be referred to the House for legislative review, which Representative Muhammad Abu Hamad of the Social Solidarity Committee expects to occur in the near future.

In Session:

A delegation of the Human Rights Committee, led by Chairman Alaa Abed, visited the Banha Police Station in Qalyubia. The delegation met with police officials and leadership at the station and inspected the facilities in order to assess human rights conditions within the facilities. The committee has yet to issue a statement following its visit to the facilities.

The Tourism Committee is preparing a report to cover the highlights from its delegation visit to Taba and Nuweiba in the context of various issues affecting the tourism industry in the region.

Abdel ‘Al stated that the House will consider recent libel and defamation charges against Representative Mortada Mansour on Wednesday, April 10.

In News and Statements:

The House released a joint statement along with the legislatures of Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Bahrain announcing a boycott of an Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Qatar.

The second round of voting for the available parliamentary seat in Ashmoun opened April 7. The runoff vote is contested between Nation’s Future Party candidate Ahmed al-Khashen and independent candidate Hatem Maglaa.

Religious Affairs Committee Chairman Osama al-Abd hosted Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Egypt, Tural Rzayev, to discuss joint agreements and bilateral relations.

Nation’s Future Party Vice-President Muhammad Manzour praised Sisi’s visit to Washington as an opportunity to develop the partnership between the two countries.

African Affairs Committee Chairman Tariq Radwan hosted officials from Sierra Leone’s House of Representatives to discuss methods of improving bilateral relations.

Deputy Speaker of the House al-Sayyid al-Sharif hosted China’s ambassador to Egypt, Song Aiguo, to discuss bilateral relations.

Abdel ‘Al met with Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa as part of his visit to the country. The officials discussed economic cooperation between the two countries, parliamentary relations, and Sisi’s leadership within the African Union. Abdel ‘Al also met with Tanzania’s foreign minister, Augustine Mahiga, to discuss relations between Egypt and Tanzania with a focus on economic cooperation.

Looking Ahead

  • Transportation Minister Kamal al-Wazir and Local Development Minister Mahmoud Sharawi will attend separate meetings of the Local Administration Committee next week to discuss their ministries’ respective budgets.
  • Constitutional amendments are set to be discussed in plenary session next Tuesday April 16 ahead of a final vote, according to Constitutional Affairs Committee Chairman Bahaa Abu Shoqa.