Monday,22 October, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)
Monday,22 October, 2018
Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Businessmen sweep parliamentary committees

Gamal Essam El-Din reports on this week’s parliamentary committee elections


Businessmen sweep parliamentary committees
Businessmen sweep parliamentary committees

Members of the pro-government Support Egypt parliamentary bloc were elected to head 16 of parliament’s 25 committees on Monday and Tuesday. MPs affiliated with the Wafd, the Free Egyptians and Future of Homeland Parties also won leading posts.

The list of Support Egypt winners includes Osama Heikal, a former information minister and the current chairman of the Egyptian Media Production City (EMPC), who was re-elected head of parliament’s Media, Culture and Antiquities Committee.

Mohamed Al-Sewedi, a business tycoon who was elected head of the Support Egypt bloc on Saturday, told reporters the majority grouping had refused to field candidates for every parliamentary committee.

“We wanted competitive elections and all political factions to win posts on the committees’ boards,” said Al-Sewedi.

Alexandria businesswoman and Support Egypt member Sahar Talaat Mustafa was re-elected head of the Tourism and Civil Aviation Committee. Alexandria industrialist and Support Egypt official Mohamed Farag Amer was re-elected head of the Youth and Sports Committee. Amer already chairs Alexandria’s Semouha Sporting Club.

Appointed MP and Support Egypt official Hussein Eissa was elected chairman of the influential Budget and Planning Committee. Eissa, a professor of commerce and former president of Ain Shams University, won unopposed.

High-profile MPs who were re-elected also include Mubarak-era politician Saad Al-Gammal as head of the Arab Affairs Committee; former chief of Military Intelligence Kamal Amer as head of the Defence and National Security Committee; Wafd Party lawyer Bahaaeddin Abu Shokka as head of the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee; businessman Talaat Al-Sewedi as head of the Energy and Environment Committee; lawyer and parliamentary spokesman of the Free Egyptians Party Alaa Abed as head of the Human Rights Committee and former head of Al-Azhar University Osama Al-Abd as head of the Religious Affairs Committee.

Other committees saw stiff competition. Support Egypt official Tarek Radwan was elected head of the Foreign Affairs Committee over independent MP Ahmed Said. Sayed Feleifel, an appointed MP and expert on African affairs, beat independent MP Mustafa Al-Guindi to lead the African Affairs Committee. Mohamed Al-Amari, a professor of surgery and Support Egypt official, was elected head of the Health Affairs Committee, beating Magdi Morshed.

Hisham Abdel-Wahed, a member of the Future of Homeland Party, was elected head of the Transport and Telecommunication Committee over Said Taima. Hisham Al-Shini, an MP affiliated with the Free Egyptians Party, was re-elected head of the Agriculture, Irrigation, Food Security and Animal Wealth Committee. Real estate tycoon and independent MP Moataz Mahmoud was the MPs’ preferred choice to head the Housing, Public Utilities and Reconstruction Committee, beating Alaa Wali to the post.

Chairman of the General Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions Gibali Al-Maraghi was re-elected head of the Labour Committee. Ahmed Samir, an industrial engineer affiliated with Support Egypt bloc, was re-elected head of the Industrial Committee. Hamam Al-Adli becomes head of the Complaints and Proposals Committee. Businessman Amr Ghallab was re-elected head of the Economic Affairs Committee and Mohamed Ali Youssef retained his post as head of the Small Projects Committee.

Abdel-Hadi Al-Qasbi, leader of Egypt’s Sufi community, was re-elected head of the Social Solidarity Committee. Appointed MP and liver disease specialist Gamal Shiha was re-elected head of the Education Committee. The Wafd Party’s Ahmed Al-Sigini was re-elected head of the Local Administration Committee and the Future of Homeland Party’s Nidal Al-Said was re-elected head of the Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee.

Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal warned MPs during the opening meeting of the House on Monday not to “defame the legislative body”.

“I have a message to all those [MPs] who are fond of defaming the image of parliament,” said Abdel-Aal. “I would like to remind them that this parliament has proved immune to all previous defamation campaigns and has shown itself able to discipline violators and wrongdoers.”

“Parliament will be very keen to discipline those who want to disparage parliament or violate its rules in a very forceful way,” said the speaker.

Abdel-Aal has been criticised by members of the opposition 25-30 bloc with MP Haitham Al-Hariri accusing the speaker in June of violating the constitution and parliament’s internal bylaws and acting in a dictatorial manner.

Abdel-Aal responded by referring Al-Hariri to the Ethics Committee.

The speaker said it was deplorable that some MPs used media interviews to tarnish the image of parliament.

According to Abdel-Aal, “freedom should not mean chaos or be viewed as an absolute right to be exercised at the expense of the state’s interests and the freedom of others.”

“This is another message I want to convey to the media and all state institutions. We must all respect the constitution, laws and regulations,” said Abdel-Aal.

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