Egypt’s Speaker Dr. Ali Abdel-Aal ruled out any amendment to the Egyptian Constitution, saying that there was no draft on Parliament’s agenda for the amendment, and that it was only a proposal and a desire expressed by one of the deputies.
The Egyptian presidential elections will be held on schedule in March under the emergency law, according to Abdel-Aal, who was speaking during a press conference at the end of his visit to Washington and New York. He added that there was no connection between the holding of presidential elections and the continuation of the emergency law.
He also stressed that his meetings were very fruitful, especially as he met US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster at the White House, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Republican Leader Steve Scalise, Sen. Ted Cruise and other US lawmakers in the US Intelligence and Defense committees. Abdel-Aal also met with the Appropriations Committee for US foreign aid, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Middle East Institute, and held other meetings with the Egyptian community in Washington and New York.
The speaker of the Egyptian parliament, who conducted a seven-day visit to the US at the head of a delegation of nine chairmen of parliamentary committees, said his visit was the first of an Egyptian parliamentary delegation since 2008. He noted that discussions have touched on several issues, including the fight against terrorism, the protection of borders and economic reforms.
On the nature of relations between Washington and Cairo, Abdel-Aal said it was “a strategic relationship, and Washington is counting heavily on Egypt in combating terrorism and stabilizing the Middle East, maintaining the peace treaty with Israel, bolstering Palestinian reconciliation, in addition to maintaining the stability of the eastern borders with Libya.”
As for the economic situation in Egypt, the speaker said: “We cannot hide anything. The situation is not rosy in Egypt; we have difficult economic and security conditions, as we are facing terrorism infiltrating through Libya, and the problem of tunnels at the eastern borders.”
As for the amendment of the Constitution, Abdel-Aal denied any intentions to amend it, despite his previous statements that the Constitution was not a holy book, explaining that the controversy on the subject “was because of a proposal submitted by one of the deputies to amend the Constitution.”
The Speaker underlined that that the presidential elections would be held next March, and would be supervised by the National Electoral Commission, which includes representatives of judges from the State Council, the Administrative Prosecution, the State Affairs Commission, and other judicial bodies.
He stressed in this regard that there was no connection between the holding of presidential elections and the continuation of the emergency state, explaining that the security situation in Egypt necessitated the continuation of the state of emergency.