Parliamentary speaker: ElBaradei only a thinker if he doesn’t join a party

In an interview with Mahmoud Messallam on Mehwar satellite channel two days ago, Fathi Sorour, the speaker of the People’s Assembly, weighed in on several legislative and political issues currently preoccupying Egyptians. Here is a summary of what was said in that interview.

Sorour said it was in the interest of the government to issue a law allowing for ministers to be impeached since, unlike ordinary citizens, a minister’s decisions has political motivations and implications.

Sorour said that in this regard Egypt is still implementing a law issued during its union with Syria, which has created a “legislative vacuum.” Proposals for bills have been sent to the Shura Council, but the council has so far not responded.

Commenting on ministers who have business interests, Sorour said a minister should separate himself from any business interests when he assumes a ministerial position. The Constitution, he added, stipulates that a minister should not be doing any business with the government.

As for the current state-financed medical treatment crisis, Sorour said the issue has been exaggerated to a great extent. He added that he did not refer the matter to the Public Prosecution as he had no charges to press against the MPs implicated in the crisis. Instead, he said, he referred it to the Interior Ministry and the Administrative Control Authority for further examination.

According to Sorour, it would be unfair to say that MPs are “making money” out of the state-financed medical treatment service.

Sorour also said he thought the current formation of the People’s Assembly is the strongest since he has been parliamentary speaker. According to Sorour, the assembly has a strong opposition with a ruling party majority that can give a decisive vote.

The speaker expressed relief over the promulgation of the law on organ transplant, saying that the law is one of the best in the world.

He added that the People’s Assembly always tries to take only the time necessary to issue a new law in order not to slow down the legislative process or be accused of “botching up” new legislation.

On the topic of recent protests and demonstrations, Sorour said that protesting on the parliament’s sidewalk is not an absolutely negative phenomenon, as it shows that those who have problems see the parlimant as their rescuer, which demonstrates democracy and freedom of expression.

“We have resolved the crises of justice experts and other companies. Once informed about any complaint, we direct it to the relevant specialized committee and minister,” Sorour said, explaining that the lawyers versus judges crisis was divided into two parts. “The first part represents the relations between both and how to deal with each other. The second part deals with the arrested lawyers. No one can intervene in the affairs of justice, and I don’t want to discuss it.”

Sorour added that a meeting between Ahmed el-Zend, president of the Judges club, and Hamdi Khalifa, president of the Lawyers Syndicate, had been impossible as the statements released by both had increased each other’s anger.

Concerning the delay in issuing the new anti-terrorism act and the extension of emergency law, Sorour clarified that the 31-year-old state of emergency has in place been for different reasons; including agression, terrorism, and many others.

Regarding the performance of some opposition and Muslim Brotherhood members, Sorour said: “Most opposition members are good, but others break rules and regulations. They’re quietly affected by what’s published in the papers or broadcast on TV, without any evidence. Some Muslim Brotherhood members are objective, others are not.” He noted that the opposition can gain a higher rate of representation in parliament on the condition of their objectivity and gaining support among the people.

Sorour finally observed that ElBaradei has the right to nominate himself for the presidency, but that he must consider the tools necessary to enable him to achieve his ambition. According to Sorour, the only way is to become a leader or a member of any party. Sorour also indicated that how ElBaradei is performing now makes him merely a thinker calling for specific ideas. In order to nominate himself, “he should receive the number of votes stated by law.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition. 

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