Prime Minister arrives to parliament to give statement

Amira El-Fekki
3 Min Read

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail arrived at the House of Representatives Sunday where he is scheduled to make a statement regarding the vision of the Ministers’ Cabinet towards development,

Ismail should explain to the parliament the details of the government’s programme to address current socio-economic and political challenges.

The major themes of the cabinet’s programme, as stated by cabinet spokesperson Hossam El-Kawish, are national security,  the decrease in unemployment rate, and the increase of the quality of government services, a framework to lower the budget deficit and inflation rate, to raise the growth rate to 6% within two fiscal years, and to develop a mechanism for tax commutation.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Mahmoud El-Sharif confirmed to a local TV channel Saturday that Ismail’s statement at the parliament will be broadcast live, amid calls by media and some politicians who stated that the statement concerns all Egyptians, state-media reported.

Among them was MP Haitham El-Hariri who told Daily News Egypt on Sunday morning that he thinks Ismail’s statement could be even more significant to the public than the speeches of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi “because it will tackle every aspect of their lives and present implementation steps towards improvement – at least as we expect”.

This comes as parliamentary sessions have been off air since January. The decision had been contested by some MPs who argued that it was necessary to portray a transparent image to the public, while others viewed media pressure as an obstacle to their work.

“For instance I remember that our first sessions lasted for more than 12 consecutive hours. We also spent continuous hours working during other sessions, but I noticed that instead of shedding light on our efforts, the media would rather get a scoop of an MP eating some sweets, and the like,” MP Amna Nosseir commented to Daily News Egypt.

For Nosseir, the parliament’s decision stems from a dispute with the media, whereas, El-Hariri does not see the decision as “protecting MPs’ work” but rather as covering up for them.

He told Daily News Egypt that he opposed the decision to stop broadcasting the sessions, and that he even joined a lawsuit filed by the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) in solidarity with demands to annul the parliament’s decision.

State-affiliated TV channel Sout Al-Shaab broadcasts excerpts of parliamentary sessions – but not live. It is unclear whether some parts are omitted. “In my opinion, MPs should know they are being watched, not by the media, but by the people who voted for them. The pressure of public opinion could be a tool to correct unacceptable behaviour and hold MPs accountable,” he concluded.

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Journalist in DNE's politics section, focusing on human rights, laws and legislations, press freedom, among other local political issues.
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