Saturday, February 16, 2019

Egypt’s Constitutional amendments 2019 : The Parliament approves preliminarily too quickly

On Thursday, Egypt’s House of Representatives passed in Cairo preliminary the constitutional amendments preliminarily that will allow current President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to run for more presidential terms.

The amendments which were presented to the parliament by one-fifth of its members, were approved by 485 members out of the 596-seat parliament after two days of discussion only "In a total of ten hours only".

During that preliminary discussion, it was agreed to keep the two constitutional articles related to the National Press Council and the National Media Council after it was originally suggested in the amendments their cancellation.
Egyptian parliament 

Only 17 MPs rejected the amendments and their names are : MP Talaat Khalil , MP Nadia Henry , MP Faiza Mahmoud , MP Samir Ghattas , MP Reda El-Beltagy, MP Gamal El-Sherif , MP Haitham El-Hariri , MP Siyad Abd El-Aal , MP Mohamed El-Attmany , MP Mostafa Kamel El-Din, MP Ahmed El-Sharkawy, MP Mohamed Abdel El-Ghanny , MP Salah Abdel Badie , MP Ahmed El-Bredesy and MP Akmal Kourtam.

I believe it is important to mention their names.

It is worth to mention MP Faiza Mahmoud is a member of the Support Egypt Bloc and yet she voted against the amendments.
She is the only MP from that bloc to do so considering the fact that Support Egypt bloc was the one that represented the petition to amend the constitution in the first place.

Interestingly the leader of Conservatives Party MP Akmal Kourtam was among the MPs who said a big NO in the parliament when the rest of the MPs in his party’s parliamentary bloc said “Yes”.
Kourtam, a former NDP figure had his moment during the discussion of the amendments on Thursday that unfortunately is not recorded officially in the Parliament’s logs.
During his word during the assembly, he had had a nearly verbal fight with other MPs because they were angry of what he said before he left the session.
The constitutional amendments are aggression,” He said adding those amendments were also a crime against the people and the state institution in Egypt.
Akmal Kourtam led a party known to its support to the army and the regime in general in Egypt since its official and legal launch after the January 2011 revolution.
Since announcing his rejection to the amendments from two weeks, the man has been attacked by Pro-regime media madly.

Still, Kourtam was not the star of the opposition in the parliament during that fast discussion, the new star of the opposition was MP Ahmed Tantawy and his short word in front of the assembly.

My own personal deep convictions make me say that what is happening {discussing those constitutional amendments} is null constitutionally according to two points in Constitution article no.226 and it is not the right of the parliament to extend the presidential terms except after more freedoms guarantees, the parliament has no right to add new articles” He said criticizing the short time given to discuss constitutional amendments at the same time.
It did not stop there.

All amendments are a worse return to what things have been before 25 January, the absolute power is absolute corruption , what is happening reminds us with logic used in the middle age, all the amendments go in to the opposite wrong direction when the people are waiting to get their rights in bread, freedom and dignityThe journalist MP added.

The founding member in Nasserite Karma Party also said that the presidential term amended article was tailored for one person and we all know who was speaking about.

He quoted a verse from “The prisoners’ laughter” poem by Egyptian poet Abdel Rahman El-Abnoudy saying the following “ Egypt knows and sees but she is patient but in no time she crosses the hardships to restore the name and addresses”.
I do not think that the verse needs more explanation.
The end was not less dramatic. He quoted that Quranic verse (QS 40: 44)
And you will remember what I [now] say to you, and I entrust my affair to Allah. Indeed, Allah is Seeing of [His] servants.
That video has gone viral and was shared in every social media network in Egypt. You can see that it managed to get 1.9 million views on Facebook only !!
My mom found her friend who lives in the States sending her video on WhatsApp.
I do not know if Ahmed Tantawy had put on a show as some accuse him saying that if he had been serious in his opposition, he would have been resigned from the parliament during the Tiran and Sanafir.
I can’t blame them actually and I have my own doubts but MP Tantawy said what many want to say publicly but do not have a podium or media outlet as freely as before to say it.
I do not have any high hopes for any political figures right now.

MP Haitham El-Hariri made another surprise for some when he declared his explicit rejection to the amendments on Thursday.
Needless to say, it was overshadowed by the short yet powerful word by MP El-Tantawy.
El-Hariri confused earlier last week many when he declared on his official Facebook that constitutional amendments’ current procedures were done in accordance to the constitution and that he called the Egyptian people to participate in the referendum in a short FB post.
He removed that short statement from his Facebook page later.
The Pro-regime media claimed that “he corrected his position” and “he called the people to support the amendments”
Earlier last week too, notorious lawyer Samir Sabry reported El-Hariri to the prosecutor general fosexuallyal harassing a woman in a telephone call based on some alleged recording that found its way online in the past two weeks.

Aside from Tantawy, El-Hariri and Kourtam, the “Yes for Amendments” parliamentary camp had its own golden moments showing to Egyptians and the whole world the kind of MPs we have got representing the people.

MP Hany Abaza of Al-Wafd Party said that Egypt was a “semi-state” that did not exist before President Sisi.There was no education nor health nor infrastructure,” He said adding that Sisi was constructing Egypt as a true state !!
“It is unlogic to tell the man to leave when he did a lot of work” He stated.

MP Mostafa El-Gendy said that he returned back from Ethiopia and that the people there “in Ethiopia” saw their only hope in President El-Sisi who was currently heading the African Union.
They see him as the leader of the war against terrorism,” He said.
I say yes to the constitutional amendment giving the army the right to preserve the civil state because I don’t want to leave my kids to a bunch of politicians”  The independent veteran MP who is technically a politician himself added.

MP Riyad Abdel Sattar cursed “Democracies” in his word.
God damn democracies, God damn the international organizations you belong to (addressing the opposition and activists I suppose), Egypt is stronger than all and we will work on amending the constitution, yes for Abdel Fattah El-Sisi” He said.

MP Ibrahim Abdel Wahab supported the amendments but at the same time he demanded the formation of a new constitution committee to draft a new constitution to support and to enforce the “Civil Democratic State”.
MP and chairman of Zamalek SC, the bigger than life Mortada Mansour believes too that Egypt needs a better constitution than the current one and he got no sex tapes in an indirect reference following opposition MP and renewed director Khaled Youssef.
Mansour supports the regime and the constitutional amendments without a say.

What is next for those constitutional amendments?

Now the amendments are referred to parliament’s legislative and constitutional committee to prepare a report in no more than 60 days.
For the first 30 days, there should be a social discussion about those amendments with members of the society and politicians where they should present their suggestions accordingly.
The amendments will then be put to a final vote in the parliament and if approved they will be put to a national referendum.
We are speaking about three months in total.

The Arabic hashtag “#No_For_Constitution” has been trending for two days since Thursday in Egypt.
Sometimes it reaches the top trends against all odds and against all trolls and trivial hashtags about useless news about football and D-List actors or even A-List actors.

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