Parliament has barely delivered any of its required tasks in the past month, independent rights group Maat said in a report released on Sunday.
Maat aims to empower citizens and increase their awareness of the parliament’s role and performance of their representatives.
The report monitors the parliament’s performance from the beginning of February to 10 March. The report reviews the parliament’s legislative role, supervisory role, and also examines the internal conflicts inside parliament, its relation with the executive branch, and services provided.
“In the period during which the report was conducted, the only achievement made by parliament was issuing the internal code of conduct, which was sent to the State Council for review,” the report stated.
A committee headed by MP Bahaa El-Din Abou Shoka was tasked with reviewing internal regulations, and introducing updates and amendments to organisational practice according to the Egyptian Constitution of 2014.
To expand the regulatory influence of the parliament, the committee suggested the number of internal committees be increased from 19 to 28, as reported by the parliament’s official website on 14 February. The new committees that may be added include those that focus on African affairs, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME), higher education, scientific research, and the media.
Parliament approved the chart focusing on internal regulations in mid-March and sent it to the State Council for further review.
The duration of discussing internal regulations took longer than it should have, which caused an absence in the legislative role of parliament as it did not discuss any bills or inquiries.
Many parliamentarians submitted inquiries on public service issues. The total inquiries presented during the report’s examination period were 13, according to Maat.
Inquiries included reopening a hospital in Sohag and renovating a drainage system in Al-Qanater constituency. Moreover, there were four urgent requests submitted to parliament related to road services in Alexandria and Matrouh, including another request urging for a discussion on the security unrest and violations by non-commissioned police officers.
“Parliament’s extended role in public service issues indicates an absence in the municipal council’s role in observing those issues,” said Maat. Parliament should complete discussions on the newly drafted municipal law soon so as to not be distracted from its main role, Maat added.
Since its launch, parliament has witnessed many incidents of disorder and conflict between its members. This includes an assault on former MP Tawfik Okasha. Okasha, however, has regularly been a source of controversy due to his often offensive statements and previous disputes with the parliamentary speaker.
Those conflicts could be detrimental to parliament in the upcoming period, the report stated. According to Maat, parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal was a key player in most of those conflicts, whether by igniting or settling them.
Parliamentary conflicts were exposed to the public via media reports and were widely criticised on social media platforms. According to Maat, this impacts the public’s trust in their parliamentary representatives which might affect their role in general.
Meanwhile, more than 100 parliamentarians did not commit to attending sessions, according to Maat. Over the past month an average of only 490 parliamentarians attended the scheduled sessions and took part in its discussions and decision-making.