Ganzouri Government Performance Weak, Shaky; Withdrawing Confidence is Only Solution

Ganzouri Government Performance Weak, Shaky; Withdrawing Confidence is Only Solution

Dr. Ahmed Fahmi, Speaker of the Shura Council (SC), asserted that foreign funding of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), security, the economy and Nile water issues are the top priorities of the SC as strategy matters that have an imminent, profound and direct impact on Egypt’s future.

Dr. Fahmi underscored the importance of the SC, and stressed that he will demand wider powers in the coming period in order to activate SC role in legislative life, in addition to its role in monitoring the performance of the government and the executive bodies.

He explained that the marginalization of the role of the SC, under the former regime, was due to late president Anwar Sadat deliberating making it a purely political – not legislative – role, a mistake that should be rectified in the new SC, restoring to it its previous status when the Egyptian Senate (as it was called in the old days) had a vital parliamentary role before the July 1952 revolution.

Dr. Fahmi said that the importance of the SC lies in its ability to hold to task both the President and the Cabinet, because it represents the high point of accountability in some countries, and also as a consultative body for some laws and treaties. As for the situation in Egypt, the Constitution gives the SC the right to review and reconsider laws complementary to the Constitution, in addition to treaties that affect homeland security. The SC can also debate issues of concern to society at large and matters that affect national unity and social peace, and may make recommendations to the parliament and the government.

The Speaker of the SC added, "We will demand new powers to activate the SC’s role and increase its competence, so it shall be able to exercise its regulatory oversight role vis-à-vis the government and executive bodies, especially since one third of the SC members will be appointed experts and technocrats from various fields".

Dr. Fahmi rejected calls for the abolition of the SC, pointing out that more than 77 countries worldwide have a bicameral system (two houses or chambers of parliament). He said, "The problem of the Egyptian SC is one of competence. We, therefore, will request new powers, to restore to the SC mandates of the 2007 Constitution amendments, at least, in addition to oversight duty".

On the assessment of the Ganzouri government, the head of the SC said that, “Its performance is not commensurate with the aspirations of the Egyptian people, is overall weak and shaky. Egypt has been plagued by many problems, with this government at the helm. It is better for it to resign, so a strong and stable government is formed, that should work to achieve the goals of the revolution and address the various problems of the Egyptian citizen. I believe the People’s Assembly is headed in the direction of withdrawal of confidence from this government, perhaps in the next few days.

With respect to criteria and controls for the selection of the appointed one-third of the SC members, Dr. Fahmi said, "Of course, there will be specific controls to select those. This will not be left as an absolute authority in the hands of the President of the Republic".

With regard to his vision for the formation of the Constituent Assembly of the Constitution, Dr. Fahmi said: "We have proposed that it should be composed of 40 deputies – members of the People’s Assembly and the SC – in addition to 60 from outside parliament, representing trade unions, organizations, writers, intellectuals, Al-Azhar, and the church. So all segments of Egyptian society are represented. Others have proposed 30 to 80 MPs. Ultimately, Parliament will approve the regulations and participation rates of all parties at a meeting on March 17".

Turning to the issue of changes in the press, Dr. Fahmi said: "We will examine this matter, and there may be changes in the near future, especially with the end of the legal age for some press leaders this month. The standard of efficiency will be the basis for choosing new leaders". He also pointed out that, "There will be some changes in the membership of the National Council for Human Rights". He added that, "The matter is still under study and consideration, because we only started work in this new SC one week ago".

In conclusion, the SC Chairman expressed his conviction that the Hybrid Model, the semi-presidential system, drawing on both presidential systems and parliamentary systems, is the best for Egypt today, since it combines the advantages of both systems.