Morsi-era Egypt parliamentarians 'resume' sessions in Istanbul
Forty-four parliamentarians that served in the government of Egypt's former President Mohamed Morsi have convened in Istanbul in what was their first official session since the Egyptian military deposed Morsi in July 2013.
The MPs, who form the so-called Egyptian Revolutionary Council, met over the weekend at Istanbul’s Titanic Hotel, and elected Tharwat Nafi, the former leader of Egypt’s Ghad Party who now lives in Canada, as head of the assembly.
Gamal Heshmat, a Freedom and Justice Party member and former deputy of the foreign relations committee of the People’s Assembly during Morsi’s government, and former deputy head of the al-Wasat Party, Hatem Azzam, were also voted in as deputies.
The MPs were members of the Egyptian parliament that was elected in December 2012 and dissolved on 3 July 2013 after the military ousted Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president.
“This is the first time that the parliamentarians, which made up the consultative assembly that was dissolved by the constitutional court, resumed their sessions,” said Maha Azzam, head of the Council, which was launched on 8 August in Istanbul.
The former lawmakers said they would hold their next session in January 2015.
According to a statement published on Heshmat's Facebook page, 10 decisions were taken at the meeting on issues relating to human rights violations, engagement with an international parliamentarian group, and specialised committees were established to address various legal and human rights topics.
“There will be several committees that will issue clear assessments of the violations, both legal and human rights that have been happening in Egypt. They may also work on issuing violations of the of the 2012 Constitution,” Azzam told Middle East Eye.
Heshmat said the former parliamentarians called on the international community to refrain from recognising agreements reached by current Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s government.
They also called on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to freeze Egypt’s membership due to various labour rights violations allegedly taking place in Egypt.
Heshmat said the MPs also called on Cyprus and Greece to refrain from implementing decisions taken during a summit held in Cairo on 8 November, which aimed to deepen cooperation between the two countries and Egypt.
“Our goal is to engage with parliamentarians around the globe to remind them of our legitimacy. We have already been meeting with parliamentarians around European and African countries and will continue to do so,” Heshmat said.
Sisi announced in November that new parliamentary elections would be held in March 2015, but Heshmat rejected the scheduled vote, saying there was 'no alternative' to the Morsi-era parliament.
“There are 40,000 detainees in prison. There are media outlets closed down. These elections to elect a parliament in the absence of international supervision will not be legitimate,” Heshmat said.