Heated start to new parliamentary session

Parliament witnessed a heated session on Tuesday, with 128 interpellations submitted against the government. Interpellation is the formal right of parliament to submit questions to the government. "I had to withdraw my three interpellations when I saw so many filed," said independent MP Kamal Ahmed. "I didn’t want to denigrate this important method of parliamentary supervision."

Parliamentary Legal Affairs Minister Mufid Shehab said a solid interpellation takes six months to prepare. "That’s why I sympathize with MP Gamal Zahran, who filed 22 different interpellations in one parliamentary session," said Shehab, to which Zahran responded, "This shows the magnitude of corruption in the country."

Budget and Planning Secretary Ahmed Ezz wanted to give opportunity for the majority representatives to respond to the interpellations filed against the government. "70 percent of the majority deputies do not attend discussions of interpellations," he said. "This leaves a bad impression with the public."

People’s Assembly speaker Fathi Sorour criticized the government for presenting a new bill on antiquities that included clauses already approved by parliament. "They should have just presented the requested amendments, to save time and effort," he said.

Culture Minister Farouk Hosni said the government had requested more severe punishments for offenses related to antiquities in order to protect citizens. "Some people were killed while illegally digging for antiquities," he said, explaining that he had personally abolished a clause in the law that allots 10 percent of finds to the person discovering them.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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