- InterviewsMB News
- November 18, 2009
- 54 minutes read
Hussein Ibrahim in an interview with Ikhwanweb, Our Agenda in the Parliament’s new session
Hussein Ibrahim in an interview with Ikhwanweb
-“NDP” seeking to weaken PA’s last session
-Ahmed Ezz’s Sharp Attack not to no veil as it is strongly recognition with MB MPs’ performance and steadfastness
-We have legislative and regulatory plans which reflect Key concerns of Egyptian citizens in the current parliamentary session.
-Egyptian people can stimulate the overwhelming majority and put pressure on the NDP MPs in support of change.
–The need for cooperation of the entire independent opposition.
– Internal election of the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc immediately after the inauguration of PA’s new session by the President
–The ruling regime is fully aware that it is playing with fire if the People’s Assembly election is rigged similar to the Shura Council election.
The Egyptian People’s Assembly expects a heated parliamentary session in which a procedural session will be held today to re-elect the PA’s Speaker and two deputy speakers through direct secret ballot followed by a meeting to publicize members of Standing Committee of Political Bureau. The People’s Assembly held a complementary session to announce results of the “Central Committee and Politburo elections” to approve the Assembly’s Parliament Division; General Committee, Ethics Committee and Assembly offices.
The current People’s Assembly session which is the fifth and latest session of the ninth legislative term was very controversial where it witnessed tragic incidents headed by the “Iron man” Ahmed Ezz, the NDP’s Organization Secretary, who lashed out the opposition MPs in general and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Parliamentary bloc in particular.
“The political opposition, in the last scene, may see the submitting of several urgent questions and requests that will reveal cases of corruption in elections in the face of Ahmed Ezz and his entourage’s plans, observers and political analysts said.” Others noted that the opposition powers, in the current parliamentary session, concurred that they may submit their resignations and file a note of protest to Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to detect despotism, the absence of genuine democracy and marginalization of the opposition’s role under the parliamentary dome by the overwhelming NDP MPs.
What is the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc stance on these possible scenarios and its predictions of the current incidents? What are their legislative and regulatory tools on the existing parliamentary sessions? Is it possible to form a strong alliance with independents and opposition parties to stand against the “automatic majority”?
Hussein Mohamed Ibrahim, vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc, answers these questions and others in an interview to Ikhwanweb.
Ikhwanweb: What are your expectations on the latest parliamentary session in the current legislative term in which political observers expect to be controversial as differences escalate between the Brotherhoods’ Bloc and other independent movements on one hand and the ruling NDP on the other?
Hussein: We hope the upcoming session will be serious especially as we are embarking upon a good legislative and regulatory agenda and are willing to implement as much as possible. I would imagine that the ruling NDP does not want a heated session where they do their best to bury the last session. If we go back to the fourth session of the current legislative term, we will notice it was the worst.
We will simply be on alert in the existing session to fulfill demands of the Egyptian people and will make every effort since the Brotherhood’s MPs are the chosen representatives of the Egyptian citizens to resolve all problems and crises caused by policies of the oppressive and tyrannical NDP.
Ikhwanweb: It is expected that there will be the promoting in the upcoming legislative session of a package of important bills such as health insurance Act, anti-terror law, social security Act and others. What action will be taken on these laws?
Hussein: Initially, we need to endorse a new law on health insurance and strongly reject the leaked information we have obtained on significant provisions of the law and will strive to pass a law adopting people’s demands that asked to amend articles not compatible with the Egyptian people’s interests.
With respect to the anti-terrorism law, we strongly condemn that the “emergency law” is legally and officially recognized. More than once the MB MPs have denied the special anti-terrorism law. I remember that I attended a lecture with professors and law students in 1990 by Dr. Fathi Sorour titled “Cultural Week of Mansoura University” in which he confirmed that Egypt tackled anti-terror through the articles of both the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. Unfortunately, Egypt enacted laws which restricted the freedom of opinion and expression where so much has provoked intense criticism of human rights organizations.
We are fully prepared to discuss the Social Insurance Act as we have developed its full details. In fact, the draft is fully prepared by the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc with the minimum demands of the laboring classes and we hope the overwhelming NDP majority will cooperate with us in the current session towards advocating the rights of the Egyptian people.
Ikhwanweb: Is it possible that NDP MPs endorse the minority in a package of laws amid tension and turmoil prevailing Egypt’s two rival factions?
Hussein: We rely on the honorable Egyptians who are likely to exert pressure on the NDP Mps to fulfill their demands, even for once, in the parliament’s last session.
Ikhwanweb: What kind of pressure or methods is expected?
Hussein: the Egyptians must exert pressure by several ways including complaints which may be submitted to the Parliament against their representative signed by all those against them, declaring their opposition and criticism to the embarrassing bias to the government’s interests against the people’s demands. They should publicly announce their opposition and highlight it through the media and other methods to put pressure on the deputies. I think any honourable Egyptian deputy should actively respond to the people’s demands.
Following the unprecedented escalation by Ahmed Ezz, Secretary of the organization of the ruling National Party, against opposition MPs, especially the Muslim Brotherhood members during the Sixth Conference of the party ”
Do you recognize any reference to a new phase of escalation against you during the next session?
Ikhwanweb: Do you see signals on a new phase of escalation against the Brotherhood during the next session following the unprecedented escalation by Ahmed Ezz, Secretary of the organization in the ruling National Democratic Party against the opposition MPs especially the Muslim Brotherhood members during the sixth annual conference of the National Democratic Party?
Hussein: The whole Matter doesn’t concern us as Eng Ezz has the right to say and court his leaders or send warning messages to us or to others. We are getting elected by the people’s own will and do not pay attention to such trivialities.
The NDP’s failure in all areas along with its tarnished image in the eyes of citizens has strengthened the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence inside Egypt and their keenness on the increased interests of the citizens offers them a strong existence in congress although they were sharply criticized. This, in turn, indicates that we were able to hold ourselves well and succeed even the ruling party’s leader has attested to this.
All the accusations made against us are false and with no evidence. This triggered us to rebut under the dome of the parliament with documents and overwhelming evidence proving their inability and failure. He has practiced the first monopoly of the steel market in Egypt where everyone understands very well that he is the main cause behind the repeated calamities and disasters that have caused harm to many of the Egyptian people.
Ikhwanweb: Does Ahmed Ezz intend to provoke your feelings?
Hussein: We are not afraid of him and no one can provoke our anger as it is acknowledged by all that we adhered to all the legitimate regulatory means to address the government’s non transparent practices. We have talked over the years as the public’s mouthpiece and compelled them to amend some laws based on requests and interrogations have made by the MB MPs.
Ikhwanweb: Like what?
Hussein: Dr. Farid Ismail, in the first session of Egypt’s parliament, submitted questions with regards to the selling of Cid Company for Pharmaceutical Industries where the government intends to privatize the company and the sale of its assets. Ismail excelled in his interrogation and sent a warning message to the Egyptians that the government has sold their assets and indulged in selling the underprivileged patients for pharmaceutical companies. This, in turn, forced the government to reverse its decision on privatizing the company.
In fact, the government had to immediately intervene to resolve the crisis of the loaf of bread in Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood deputies and independent responded to people’s demands at a time when the ministers were praised and applauded by the NDP MPs at the height of the crisis.
Let him bark!
Ikhwanweb: What should your response be if Ezz continued in his blatant defiance, provocation of feelings and the escalation against MB members during the next session?
Hussein: We are neither willing to confine the issue in a single MP nor want to give him more than his impact under the dome of the parliament regardless of his great influence. We are working simply to serve the Egyptian people away from the rhetoric and we promise that our demands will continue as we did in the first session.
The ruling Party knows very well that we understand more on the Rules of Procedure of the Council and work accordingly and we will continue despite obstacles.
Ikhwanweb: Can NDP provocations make you resign and protest to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in accordance with media statements made by one of independent deputies?
Hussein: We are not willing to be affected by threats as we are part of an international parliamentary institution even if we resorted it, no one can say that we seek help from abroad because we are part of its fabric. We are part of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and are able to regain our rights and the rights of Egyptians who cast their votes for us.
A false majority
Ikhwanweb: Some claim that the Brotherhood members are an inactive opposition not for the benefit of the people. What do you say?
Hussein: In fact, the given statement can be refuted and I frankly say that the brotherhood agrees with the government banning monopolistic practices when the draft law was submitted by the Minister of Trade and Industry. The MB MPs endorsed it in conformity with the government’s law but with slight differences in some materials calling for harsher penalties. When we noticed that the overwhelming majority is trying to abort the law, we gave away our motion and agreed upon it for the needs of the people. However, we noticed that the NDP MPs, after a day of discussion, abandoned the Minister’s law and amended it to align with businessmen.
We also endorsed the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation when he announced after the recent crisis with the Nile Basin countries, Egypt would not abandon any drop of water from the Nile despite the fact that it was too late
Ikhwanweb: What are the expected scenarios on the upcoming 2010 presidential elections amidst the sharp political crisis facing Egypt on bequeathing of power?
Hussein: Egypt’s voters will give priority to those who deserve their votes. In fact, voters refused to give their votes to the ruling National Democratic Party in 2005 elections and will repeat the same matter in 2010 election despite threats and negative practices because the NDP disasters increased, during the past five years.
The representation of political opposition parties, with only eight seats in Parliament, will further marginalize its role if they remain unchanged, since the parties have played a key role.
In fact, judicial supervision will play a leading role in achieving free, fair and transparent elections because election frauds are exposed by Judges in many ballot boxes. I recall the 1976 elections which were more fair than the 2005 election despite the absence of judicial supervision.
Playing with fire
Ikhwanweb: Can the Shura Council and Municipal elections see a repeat of the extensive vote rigging and intimidation of opposition candidates and their supporters in the next 2010 legislative elections?
Hussein: I can not imagine it at all because Egyptians will not accept it. As a matter of fact we cant draw a comparison between the People’s Assembly in one hand and Shura and local councils on the other hand where people do not know anything about the Shura Council except from the newspapers. The government recognized the pervasive corruptions in localities. Since people realize very well the people’s Assembly’s crucial role, certainly they would give it top priority as they will endeavor to end massive-vote rigging which took place in the former Shura Council and localities elections.
I think that the ruling regime is well aware that it’s playing with fire and risking the country’s national security if the previous scenarios are repeated. They know well its seriousness and negative consequences.
Ikhwanweb: Are we moving towards chaos, violence and clash between security forces and citizens amid assurances from party leaders that the Brotherhood will not be allowed winning parliament seats in a determination to repeat massive-vote rigging?
Hussein: I am confident that the pulse of the Egyptian people and the insistence of not abandoning their rights will certainly make the regime try to intervene by any means to suppress voters or to take any arbitrary measures against them.
Agenda for Action is very important
Ikhwanweb: What are the action plans for the new parliamentary session?
Hussein: We will adopt a legislative and regulatory agenda based upon means aimed to fulfill the people’s real demands and to resolve their problems and we will announce its outlines and details at a press conference in the parliament.
Ikhwanweb: What’s the role of the Brotherhood’s MPs on running for the standing committees?
Hussein: Unfortunately, the National Democratic Party elects its candidates from the majority members to the committees as it very confined hence we will not nominate any candidate for the PA’s standing committees. It doesn’t mean that we do not have eligible candidates available for places. However, the Muslim Brotherhood is able to completely perform their duties since they have membership in various committees and will complete what they started through their committee’s membership not in offices.
Monopoly of the NDP party
Ikhwanweb: MB MPs declined to attend the last parliamentary session because of nominating PA’s speaker and two deputy speakers. Why do you recently enter the competition? What is new made you do that?
Hussein: We reaffirm, in the latest session, our firm position that we extend our hand to the Egyptian people to realized well that the government party is still on its way to exclude competitors. This, in turn, strongly refutes the baseless allegations that the government maintains democracy, where it boasts it is based on participation.
It is customary in the world-wide that the formation of the People’s Assembly Office and offices of the specialized committees is a mirror that reflects the delegation of political powers within parliament. The largest opposition force Muslim Brotherhood and Independents roughly constitutes 25% of the seats as it is supposed to capture a quarter of the seats in the Parliament but the ruling party asserts an extensive policy of exclusion that is designed to eradicate any acquisition of the offices of the sub-committees.
Ikhwanweb: Will you run the parliamentary bloc’s internal elections on the scheduled date or is there a tendency to recommend the current configuration of Office?
Hussein: We are determined that the election be conducted ahead of the actual beginning of the PA after President Mubarak’s speech as we want to maintain a democratic approach and consolidate its principle which is not existing in any of the parties, groupings and other organizations. Rumors on endorsement of the current office are not true.
Is there an intention to nominate all MB parliamentary bloc members in the upcoming election?
It is premature to recognize that the bloc alone can decide as the Muslim Brotherhood organization only has the right to decide who is qualified to stand for election and we are keen to establish the institutional principle. The fact that the nominating for a Member of Parliament again does not necessarily mean that he is competent for the post or his dismissal means that he is incompetent. It depends on several factors, including the conditions of the same MP.
We extend them a helping hand, welcoming them
Ikhwanweb: Although all press conferences and media coverage emphasize full coordination between the Muslim Brotherhood, independent and opposition parties, we feel that all them are struggling in different directions. Really, there is no coalition. What is the future of this cooperation in the current session?
Hussein: MB deputies always assert that they extend a helping hand to all the deputies of the opposition parties or independents. I think that we have unanimously agreed at least between us and the mass of independent MPs. Everybody felt that members of the Muslim Brotherhood supported nonconformist independent MP Saad Abboud who was stripped of the right to attend the assembly’s meetings for questions asked in the 3rd session. I can say that the cooperation among opposition deputies is satisfactory to a large extent and we hope to continue in a similar manner in the current session.
There is now overwhelming evidence that an agreement was reached between the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc and independents on nomination of Dr El-Katatni, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Parliamentary bloc as the People’s Assembly Speaker and independent MP Alaa Abdel-Moneim And MB MP Ali Fathi Al-Bab for the post of two deputy speakers.
Ikhwanweb: Are the opposition parties’, 8 seats in parliament, not in coordination?
Hussein: Egypt’s opposition MPs agree with us in many positions and differ in others. Nevertheless, we welcome their opinion and respect their wishes. Anything that we can cooperate with, we rush to do without hesitation and extend a helping hand. We are keen that the opposition be one entity and always echo the words of Imam Shahid Hasan al-Banna: “We cooperate on issues we agreed upon and excuse each other on issues we disagree upon.”
Ikhwanweb: The opposition MPs needs to be coherent and united, speaking with one voice in the parliament against the government and its party. Are MB MPs blamed more than others?
In many cases, we give up much of our non-substantive views in order to achieve maximum cooperation and coordination with the opposition parties but at the end everyone makes his own decision. Why is it claimed that the Brotherhood does not cooperate with others? Is it required that we give up our own opinions to agree with them?!
Ikhwanweb: Finally, what message do you want to send to the Egyptian people?
Hussein: I stated earlier that we have the people’s trust and promise that our performance will remain strong as it is till the end of the parliamentary session. MB MPs will continue on the path of political reform talking on behalf of the Egyptians and are keen to meet their demands.