Egyptian lawmakers criticize military over new law

Egypt`s newly elected lawmakers took aim at the country`s military rulers accusing them of trampling democratic norms.

Cairo: Egypt`s newly elected lawmakers took aim at the country`s military rulers Tuesday, accusing them of trampling on democratic norms and overstepping their powers by passing laws, including a crucial one regulating presidential elections.

Led by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, the parliament is the first elected since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak last February. It is eager to assert its authority in the face of the powerful military council that took power after Mubarak`s fall and is in charge of managing the country`s transition to civilian rule.

Lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy, a member of the Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice Party, called the generals` decision to unilaterally pass the election law politically "unjustified" and said parliament must make clear that it is the country`s sole legislative power.

"Let it be a clear message to the Egyptian street that the parliament has become the only and unchallenged legislative authority," el-Beltagy told lawmakers. He asked parliament to review the law and amend it or refuse it as it sees fit.

The law in question, issued by ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, sets out the rules for presidential elections expected later this year. The military rulers published it in the official Gazette on Jan. 19 — days before the parliament convened.

In parliament`s first working session, the lawmakers also had the chance to question the country`s military-appointed prime minister about his government`s handling of a number of sensitive issues. Among those matters were the trials of former regime officials, including ousted President Hosni Mubarak, and top security officials charged with the killing of hundreds of protesters during the popular uprising last year.

The tension between parliament and the ruling generals began well before elections even came to a close. The military, which essentially rules by decree, has on several occasions made contradictory statements about the extent of authority it would allow a legislature one general described as "not representative."

Cairo: Egypt`s newly elected lawmakers took aim at the country`s military rulers Tuesday, accusing them of trampling on democratic norms and overstepping their powers by passing laws, including a crucial one regulating presidential elections.

Led by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, the parliament is the first elected since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak last February. It is eager to assert its authority in the face of the powerful military council that took power after Mubarak`s fall and is in charge of managing the country`s transition to civilian rule.

Lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy, a member of the Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice Party, called the generals` decision to unilaterally pass the election law politically "unjustified" and said parliament must make clear that it is the country`s sole legislative power.

"Let it be a clear message to the Egyptian street that the parliament has become the only and unchallenged legislative authority," el-Beltagy told lawmakers. He asked parliament to review the law and amend it or refuse it as it sees fit.

The law in question, issued by ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, sets out the rules for presidential elections expected later this year. The military rulers published it in the official Gazette on Jan. 19 — days before the parliament convened.

In parliament`s first working session, the lawmakers also had the chance to question the country`s military-appointed prime minister about his government`s handling of a number of sensitive issues. Among those matters were the trials of former regime officials, including ousted President Hosni Mubarak, and top security officials charged with the killing of hundreds of protesters during the popular uprising last year.

The tension between parliament and the ruling generals began well before elections even came to a close. The military, which essentially rules by decree, has on several occasions made contradictory statements about the extent of authority it would allow a legislature one general described as "not representative."

Bureau Report

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