In its first session since the limited protests erupted in Cairo and other cities, the Egyptian parliament renewed its support for President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the army, while Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal promised that the coming period will witness political and media reforms.
The parliament discussed reforms despite the authorities’ massive arrest campaign against activists since the start of the protests on September 20. Attorney General said about one thousand persons were detained and interrogated, however, human rights organizations believe the number to exceed 2,000.
In a speech during the opening of the fifth regular session, Speaker Abdel-Aal emphasized the importance of having a unified internal front to counter threats facing Egypt.
Abdel-Aal stressed the need to consider the overall picture, which attests to the effort of the political leadership in order to develop and elevate this country.
He noted that Egypt lies in the heart of a troubled and unstable region, surrounded by disputes and crises, asserting that the stability in the country is achieved because of the efforts of the armed forces and policemen.
Abdel Aal said he spared no effort to support democratic practices, vowing the parliament will always remain a platform of dialogue for the majority, minority, and independent members.
“We are entering the phase of reaping the fruits after a transitional period that required harsh measures,” he added, asserting that the opposition is part of the system.
He stressed the need to form local councils that include young people to communicate with executives and governors to solve the problems of citizens, saying that members of the parliament must communicate with the citizens.
The Speaker expressed the parliament’s support to the political leadership, affirming that it will continue to back measures taken, hinting that President Sisi lifted many of the people’s grievances, with just a few days ago solving the issue of over 1 million citizens with ration cards.
The interests, hopes, and pains of the people are always on the President’s mind, as he works day and night and meets with ministers and governors for the country's best interest, according to the Speaker.
Abdel-Aal called on the government to take responsibility towards the people that expect both the cabinet and the parliament to act in their interest.
Member of the Parliament’s Legislative Committee Mustafa Bakr told Asharq Al-Awsat that the political and economic reforms mentioned by the Speaker are definitely based on information. He indicated that these changes will include the government and councils to give room for alleviating citizens’ burdens and political openness that allows a bigger role for the opposition.