Egypt: Parliament vs. SCAF

This press release from EIPR is typical of many human rights groups attitude towards Tantawi's semi-abrogation of the Emergency Law last week:

EIPR Urges People’s Assembly to Immediately Vote to End the State of Emergency

In a letter Sent to MPs and Parliamentary Bodies: Field Marshal Tantawi’s Declaration Excepting Crimes of Thuggery is a Perpetuation of the Repressive Practices of the Mubarak State

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) sent a letter this morning to the heads of all political parties' parliamentary bodies, as well as several independent MPs, urging them to immediately and decisively engage with Field Marshal Tantawi’s decision to “end the State of Emergency all over the Republic except when confronting crimes of thuggery.” The EIPR believes this is a perpetuation of the repressive practices of the Mubarak regime and compared Tantawi’s declaration excepting thuggery to Mubarak’s declaration excepting crimes of terrorism and drug trafficking when he extended the State of Emergency in May 2010.

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Do read the letter, which details more steps parliament should take, including reviewing other SCAF decrees and the penal code. Not unrelated, EIPR's director (and an old, old friend of mine) Hossam Bahgat remarks to the AP that parliament has a duty to assume its legislative powers and review decrees issued by SCAF:

Many lawmakers and activists have already demanded that parliament review other military decrees issued since the generals took power last February, including a law banning public protest and strikes, as well as a decision to only partially lift of the hated Mubarak-era emergency laws.

The largely secular and urban activist groups want an immediate end to military rule, and have called for the army to return to its barracks before a constitution be written and a president elected.

“It is primarily a challenge for the (Brotherhood) majority,” said Hossam Bahgat, a human rights lawyer. “If the Brotherhood wants to send a message to its constituency and the public at large they are now an independent and effective legislature, they have no choice but to reopen (discussion) of these decrees.”

That's the outline of one of the political meta-struggles between parliament and SCAF over the next few months.