By Safaa Abdoun
CAIRO: The People’s Assembly (PA) criticized the government’s first annual report for its lack of vision and plan during the transitional period and its failure to propose urgent solutions to the ongoing crises as it continued to discuss the report Monday.
Some MPs implied that the discussion has dragged on more than needed, describing it as a political debate rather than one about the legality and the procedure of the a no-confidence vote.
The report was presented by PM Kamal El-Ganzoury on Feb. 26, reiterating to parliament previous statements about Egypt’s deteriorating economic conditions and unkept promises by Western and Arab countries to offer loans and aid, hinting at a global conspiracy against Egypt as many countries placed obstacles to Egyptian exports, while international banks were urged not to transfer foreign currency to their branches in Egypt.
“We want a specific work plan that focuses on two main issues that are the center of the current crisis, these are security and economy,” said MP Waheed Abdel Meguid, who also suggested that the government presents a specific work plan to parliament next week.
The report was first discussed on March 29 in which the PA’s special committee said that all 19 committees disapproved of its lack of vision and failure to find solutions to crises such as security and the shortage of cooking gas and bread.
During the discussion, accusations of government corruption by MP Ashraf Badreldin triggered a walkout by ministers who left the hall in objection.
Mohamed Anwar Sadat, head of the human right’s committee and the Reform and Development Party, also rejected the report.
“On top of everything, the government has wrecked important foreign relations with the NGOs foreign funding case, which we are currently in need of, as well as creating a rift within the judiciary,” he said.
Tarek El Dessouky, head of the economic committee, noted that the report is extremely contradictory. “This is an interim government coming for a limited time and all it talked about are long term projects which needs decades to be met.”
He pointed out that the ongoing hostility between the PA and the Cabinet must end for the country’s welfare.
As he gave his commentary on the report, head of the Justice Party Mostafa El-Naggar clashed with PA Speaker Saad El-Katatney who reprimanded him for digressing when he talked about the PA passing a no-confidence vote against the Cabinet.
“As a PA we keep saying that we will pass a no-confidence vote but we never take action. Then the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and its member General Mamdouh Shahin came out and said we are can’t do so,” said El-Naggar.
“SCAF says whatever it wants; I say we are able to pass a no-confidence vote but this needs procedures,” El-Katatney angrily replied to which El-Naggar said, “If we can pass the vote I say we do so.”
The decision, however, can’t be taken in isolation of the entire political scene, independent MP Amr Hamzawy said.
“We are facing a political choice, we can pass a no-confidence vote but will this be a suitable solution at the current time with weeks remaining for the elected president to come in [and appoint a new government]?” he asked.
Hamzawy pointed out that the PA must practice its role as a legislative and monitoring body which holds the government accountable.
“We have to put out legislative tools to solve the current crises pertaining to the Constituent Assembly and Article 28 of the constitutional declaration which relates to presidential elections,” he added, recommending they take quick action in passing the political exclusion law presented by MP Essam Sultan which bars officials of the former regime from practicing politics.
MPs repeatedly brought up the issue of former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman’s presidential bid.
“The government is part of a chain working on curbing the revolution, carried by SCAF,” said Hatem Azzam from the Civilization Party.
“We will not allow another Mubarak show to take place. If Omar Suleiman is elected the people will go back to the squares,” he said.
MP Ziad El-Elaimy, from the Social Democratic Party, said that the government is practicing the same Mubarak tactics of no transparency.
“The revolution called for change, freedom and social justice,” he said.
“But did this happen with Mubarak’s figures still in power? Did we get freedom when more than 12,000 revolutionaries are facing military trials?” he asked. “Mubarak’s [military] council appointed Mubarak’s cabinet so that the ‘third party’ comes in and Omar Suleiman runs in the elections.”