In what has become a protracted process delaying attention to other legislative concerns, the parliament continued discussing on Tuesday the articles of its new internal regulatory chart after reaching a preliminary agreement on Monday.
While the House of Representatives formally reassembled in January after a long absence, the legislative body has yet to resume the full capacity of its office. The resumption of legislative operations is contingent upon the implementation of a new regulatory chart that will facilitate the election of internal parliamentary committees. Debate in the Tuesday session will be focused on voting on each article of the preliminarily agreed upon regulatory chart.
During Monday’s session, MPs engaged in fierce polemical debate that spilled over into violence as the parliament discussed an article that would require bills to be presented to the State Council for review following parliamentary approval. Several MPs described the proposition as an infringement on the autonomy of the legislative body.
A conflict Parliament Speaker and controversial MP Tawfik Okasha struck a particularly acrimonious chord. The verbal spar ended with the dismissal of Okasha for the second consecutive day. As Okasha exited the parliament, MP Mahmoud Khamis assaulted a journalist in an attempt to prevent the media from interviewing the dismissed parliamentarian.
At the conclusion of the session, speaker Abdel Aal announced that his office had received a number of proposed amendments to the regulatory chart’s articles and that these amendments would be scheduled for debate on Tuesday.
After the violent turbulence of Monday, MP Khamis, a former police general, apologised to Al-Watan newspaper’s Mohamed Tarek and to fellow journalists. However, despite his apology, media members boycotted coverage of Monday’s evening parliamentary session.
The Press Syndicate has called on journalists to boycott media coverage of parliamentary sessions until the case is investigated.
Abdel Aal also apologised to journalists Tuesday at the beginning of the session and pleaded that they end their boycott.