Week in Brief – September 9, 2018 – September 22, 2018

09/25/2018 . By TIMEP

Summary

  • Representative Abdel Hadi al-Qasbi was elected as the new chairman of the Coalition in Support of Egypt after former chairman Muhammad al-Suweidi announced he would not seek reelection. After being named chairman, Qasbi issued a statement calling for unity among the bloc’s members and outlining the coalition’s preliminary legislative agenda.
  • Representative Muhammad Fuad and Wafd Party leadership entered into a public feud after Fuad alleged that the party failed to support one of his draft laws. Fuad was suspended from the party and eventually had his membership revoked, prompting several representatives to criticize the organization for, in their perspective, failing to respect one of the more notable officials in the House of Representatives.
  • Representative Ilham Ageina accosted journalists at a public event, prompting condemnation from his colleagues in the House; Ageina later apologized for his actions and asserted that he maintains the utmost respect for journalists.

Notable Developments

Coalition in Support of Egypt Elects New Chairman:

Ahead of the fourth legislative session, Coalition in Support of Egypt Chairman Muhammad al-Suweidi announced that he would not seek reelection to the chairmanship position to allow other members of the organization to assume leadership positions. The coalition elected Social Solidarity Committee Chairman Abdel Hadi al-Qasbi as its new chairman; Qasbi appeared to have secured the position unopposed. Shortly after his victory, Qasbi issued a statement noting 10 prominent policies to guide the bloc during the upcoming session including unifying the coalition’s members, repudiating organizations that do not support the regime, and emphasizing the dangers that overpopulation pose to the country. Qasbi also met with officials from the American Embassy in Cairo to discuss recent developments in the House and the coalition’s legislative agenda during the fourth session.

Representative Fuad Expelled from the Wafd Party:

Representative Muhammad Fuad of the Wafd Party entered into a heated public dispute with party leadership, stemming from the organization failing to support his draft Personal Status Law. The party suspended Fuad from the organization and eventually revoked his membership entirely, prompting harsh outcry from several representatives, including Representative Shadia Thabet and Representative Yasser Omar, who believed Wafd leadership was mistreating one of parliament’s most influential representatives. In light of the outcry, Wafd Party Secretary-General Hani Sari al-Din rallied the group’s members to maintain its support of the party, and the party’s high council later held a meeting to express its support for the current party leadership.

Following Fuad’s suspension, Local Administration Committee Chairman Ahmed al-Sageeni, who is also a Wafd Party member, announced his resignation from the organization. Sageeni did not attribute his resignation to the Fuad dispute, but rather he noted what he believed to be a growing discrepancy between the party’s agenda and the direction of the country. Party spokesman Yasser al-Hudeibi stated that the organization has yet to receive a formal resignation from Sageeni, adding that he remains a formal member of the party until receipt of a resignation letter.

Representative Apologizes for Verbally Insulting Journalists:

During a public event with local officials, Representative Ilhami Ageina accosted multiple journalists after he believed the journalists violated personal boundaries at the event. Ageina later apologized for his actions, stating that he maintains the utmost respect for the work of journalists. Meanwhile, Representative Mustafa Bakri called for a parliamentary investigation into the incident, asserting that Ageina displayed inappropriate behavior disrespectful of journalists.

Other Developments

In Legislation:

As parliament remains on recess until the start of the fourth session, no legislation was approved or submitted during the past two weeks.

In Session:

Representative Jon Talaat of the Communications Committee submitted a question to the government regarding the development projects in al-Alamein.

Representative Khaled Hilali of the Health Committee submitted a question to Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli and the Ministry of Irrigation regarding the water crisis in Kafr al-Sheikh and the impact it will have on agriculture in the region.

Representative Muhammad Saad of the Agriculture Committee submitted a question to Madbouli and Minister of Education Tariq Shawki regarding the recent closure of several schools in Beheira.

Representative Bassam Felayfil of the Suggestions and Complaints Committee submitted a question to Madbouli and Minister of Education Tariq Shawki regarding the shortage of teachers in Daqhalia.

In News and Statements:

Deputy Speaker of the House Soleiman Wahdan and Representative Hussein Abu Gad of the Manufacturing Committee are traveling to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly. The two parliamentary officials are expected to hold multiple meetings with Egyptians in New York and New Jersey to promote President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi’s political agenda.

A parliamentary delegation led by Deputy Speaker al-Sayyid al-Sharif traveled to Azerbaijan and met with President Ilham Aliyev to discuss bilateral relations between their countries; other participants in the trip included Religious Affairs Committee Chairman Osama al-Abd and fellow committee member Shukri al-Gendi.

Nation’s Future Party Secretary-General Hossam al-Khouli noted that the party is studying potential candidates to secure committee leadership positions in the upcoming legislative session, adding that the party possesses enough membership clout to assume control of a majority of committees.

A parliamentary press release noted several measures that members of the House will undertake to reduce extraneous expenditures during the upcoming session. Some of the notable endeavors include reducing paper use and encouraging representatives to use technology-based services, reducing the number of House employees by 500 through an early retirement program, and restricting travel reimbursements for representatives who travel frequently.

A delegation from the Housing Committee visited the city of al-Alamein to inspect various projects in the city.

Religious Affairs Committee Chairman Osama al-Abd hosted officials from the Danish Embassy in Cairo to address concerns about the draft Dar al-Ifta Law.

According to Deputy Speaker al-Sayyid al-Sharif, a parliamentary delegation from China is visiting Egypt beginning September 23 to meet with the Chinese-Egyptian Parliamentary Cooperation body.

Italian Speaker of the House Roberto Fico visited Egypt, where he met with his Egyptian counterpart Ali Abdel ‘Al at the headquarters of the Egyptian parliament to discuss bilateral relations.

Representative Hiyam Halawa of the Human Rights Committee received approval from the Chamber of Commerce that it would establish distribution centers of school supplies at a low price to offset price gouging.

Looking Ahead

  • Representative Ghada Agemi of the Foreign Affairs Committee said that she is preparing visits to Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Vietnam, and Japan during the upcoming legislative session to promote the tourism industry in Egypt.
  • Youth and Sports Committee Chairman Farag Omar announced his intention to run for chairman of the Manufacturing Committee rather than seeking reelection as chairman of his current committee during the upcoming session.