Deputy speaker says Parliament to work on PM removal

Parliament members were not prejudiced against the government during a Parliament questioning Sunday, People’s Assembly Deputy Speaker Ashraf Thabet has said.

The government of Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, appointed last December, has faced mounting criticism for what many call mismanagement of several issues.

The criticism reached its peak after judicial authorities dropped a travel ban on foreign suspects in an NGO funding case who, among others, faced trial on charges of receiving illegal funds and operating without a license.

The incident provoked demands to withdraw confidence in the government, also prompting the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which occupies the majority of parliamentary seats, to renew its earlier offer to head a coalition government.

On Sunday, People’s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny canceled the session scheduled to discuss the NGO illegal funding issue to protest the absence of the government.

A senior official told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Sunday that the government would not tender its resignation because of the attack on it by members of Parliament.

According to the Constitutional Declaration, only the military council has the right to discharge and appoint cabinets.

A vote of no-confidence would complicate the whole transitional period three months before the generals return to the barracks. Fears surfaced that toppling the government would make it difficult for Egypt to get the US$3.2 billion loan it has requested from the International Monetary Fund.

Ganzouri did not attend the Sunday session, instead delegating seven of his ministers. But Thabet, in a phone-in interview with CBC satellite channel late Sunday, said Ganzouri will be present at the assembly on Monday.

“The assembly does not have a mandate to withdraw confidence from the government but is still entitled to reject the government’s statement to the MPs, which will lead to its removal,” he said.

Thabet said the decision to lift the travel ban imposed on the suspects drew harsh comments by the MPs during the session, but they did not amount to insults.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the assembly’s Manpower Committee, Saber Abul Fotouh, said the MPs did not insult the government, but rather related facts. He said that according to the Constitutional Declaration, which has been governing the country since March 2011, the assembly has the right to remove the government after interrogating its officials.

The government is not the only party involved in the issue, Abul Fotouh said, adding that the MPs will continue to deny the government their confidence.

He said FJP is ready to form a new government.

“We are conducting consultations to form a coalition government so as not to be accused of attempting to dominate all government posts,” Abul Fotouh said.

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