One-third of People’s Assembly MPs refuse to suspend sessions

Scores of MPs have raised their opposition to People’s Assembly Speaker Mohamed Saad al-Katatny’s decision to suspend parliamentary sessions until Sunday, with some MPs alleging that Katatny’s proposal did not receive the required number of votes.

On Sunday, Katatny suggested that the legislature’s work be suspended for a week, saying the military had ignored demands for a cabinet which the Muslim Brotherhood says should reflect the makeup of Parliament.

Several MPs have criticized Katatny’s decision, saying that the proposal was not discussed at all.

MP Amr Hamzawy said on Monday that Katany’s decision reflects the clash between the country’s military rulers and the Muslim Brotherhood, an issue that Parliament should not be preoccupied with.

On Monday, independent MP Yasser al-Qady said that the final number of MPs who signed a statement rejecting Katatny’s decision to suspend parliamentary sessions amounted to 158 on Monday morning.

Qady said that 50 percent plus one signatures must be collected in order for a plenary session to be held, followed by another vote to suspend sessions.

Hours after suspending the sessions, state-run news agency MENA reported that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is expected to perform a limited cabinet reshuffle, which may include Islamists.

However, it is unclear if the Freedom and Justice Party will be satisfied with only sacking some ministers of the cabinet, which has been widely criticized by Parliament.

Other MPs say that despite their deep criticism of the government, they do not support the FJP’s desire to hold a no-confidence vote for the government less than three weeks before the historic presidential vote.

Qady went on to say the signatories to the statement reject the government’s February briefing but do not wish to withdraw confidence from the government and want it to continue working until the new president is elected.

He added that representatives of most political parties in Parliament signed the statement, including the Nour, Wafd, Free Egyptians and Egyptian Social Democratic parties.

Qady pointed out that most MPs reject the manner in which Katany conducted the session, which suggests that he had received prior instruction from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau on the need to withdraw confidence from the government.

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