Cairo: Egyptian parliament, the country’s first in more than three years, has voted to stop the live airing of its meetings two days after its inauguration.
Speaker of the legislature Ali Abdul Aal announced the decision late Monday after the majority of the 596-strong assembly approved a proposal presented by 40 members for cancelling the live broadcasting of the sessions.
“TV broadcasting gave some members the chance to announce on the air their own interpretations of parliament’s regulations in the belief that interpretation of these regulations is limited to them only, “Abdul Aal said.
He added that parliamentary sessions will continue to be open for reporters to cover.
The halt on live broadcasting was criticised by some lawmakers.
“I reject this decision,” leftist Haitham Al Hariri said. “The people have the right to follow up on performances of its deputies and the head of House of Representatives,” Al Hariri added in a Facebook post.
The first session of parliament on Sunday descended into disorder after maverick MP Murtada Mansur, during taking the constitutional oath, lashed out at the 2011 uprising that ended the rule of long-time president Husni Mubarak.
The ensuing sessions, which were also broadcast live, saw a sharp dispute among lawmakers over how parliament should revise 340 decrees issued by former interim president Adly Mansur and incumbent President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi.
Under the constitution, these decisions must be ratified 15 days starting from the first session of parliament or they would be automatically annulled. The legislature was divided between a decision by Abdul Aal to set up special panels to revise the presidential decrees and a suggestion by independnet MP Seri Siam, a former judge, to refer the decrees to the assembly’s 19 commissions.
In a surprise move, well-known independent lawmaker Kamal Ahmad announced on Tuesday that he had resigned from parliament, citing health reasons.
The semi-official online publication Al Ahram Online reported, quoting close sources to Ahmad, that his resignation came in protest at the way the new parliament is performing.
Ahmad, in his seventies, is a veteran MP who represented the coastal city of Alexandria in several legislatures of Egypt. As a member of Mubarak-era parliaments, Ahmad was an outspoken critic of the then regime. He is nicknamed the “Shaikh of independents”.
In mid-2012, Egypt’s top court dissolved the then Islamist-dominated legislature due to faulty electoral rules.