A two-thirds majority of the House of Representatives voted to permanently expel Tawfik Okasha’s from parliament on Wednesday.
According to Article 110 of the constitution, members in the House of Representatives may only be expelled if a member has lost the confidence and esteem of her fellow parliamentarians, ceased to meet any of her parliamentary requirements, or violated the duties of office. The decision to expel a member must be issued by a two-thirds majority of the members of the House of Representatives.
Nearly 200 MPs signed a petition demanding that Okasha be expelled. An investigation committee formed by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal recommended Wednesday that Okasha be prevented from attending the first year of parliamentary sessions as punishment for conducting private negotiations with the Israeli ambassador to Egypt.
MPs refused the committee’s advice on Wednesday which led to an ad hoc voting session to determine Okasha’s status as a MP, according to state-owned media Al-Ahram.
Okasha came under fire for various reasons, principal of which was a meeting with the Israeli Ambassador Chaim Koren that garnered public controversy.
Egypt and Israel enjoy diplomatic and economic ties are based on the Egypt-Israel peace treaty signed in 1979. Abdel Aal stressed Egypt’s commitment to respect international treaties and protocols with other nations. Despite that, the population is reluctant when it comes to political and cultural normalisation.
What further sparked debates is that Okasha stated he invited the ambassador to discuss issues of utmost national sensitivity, such as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
“The public image of the parliament has been harmed by Okasha’s behaviour, which contradicts the stance of the parliament in refusing normalisation with Israel. Okasha exchanged information with the ambassador and discussed important Egyptian files without consulting with the parliament,” MP Mostafa Bakry wrote on his Twitter account amid reports of him leading the campaign aimed to drop Okasha’s parliamentary membership.
Okasha has been previously subject to penalisation by the parliament. On Monday, the parliament decided to ban Okasha from attending 10 sessions for insulting the parliament speaker during the session of 22 February.