We need to abolish the People’s Assembly seats quota

Hussein Megawer, President of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, insists on reiterating empty talk about how keen the state is to maintain the 50 percent quota of seats in the People’s Assembly allocated to farmers and workers. The last time he brought the matter up was during the recent May Day celebration. I don’t know what Megawer’s position would be if President Mubarak decided to abolish the quota, especially after experience has demonstrated that the quota has ruined the People’s Assembly’s legislative and supervisory function.

Surprisingly, Megawer has nothing to do with farmers or workers. He is a capitalist businessman who has always supported capitalists in elections and has never been a farmer or a worker. He was probably instructed to become president of the ETUF, which he accepted, and was then instructed to head the manpower committee of the People’s Assembly, which he also accepted. If he was instructed to be in charge of another committee tasked with abolishing that quota, he wouldn’t hesitate to accept.

It seems reasonable to me when Minister of Manpower and Migration Aisha Abdel Hady defends the rights of farmers and workers. She has always been on their side and has even been among their ranks. Megawer, on the other hand, keeps on talking about a quota that President Nasser, not he, introduced in the 1960s. Besides, Megawer doesn’t seem to be aware that Mustafa Kamal Ataturk of Turkey introduced a similar quota for just a few months before abolishing it, after he discovered it was a way to dupe farmers and workers.

Parrot-like, Megawer repeats the pointless defenses for the quota. If he really wants to defend farmers and workers, he should say that a genuine parliament is one that discusses how taxes should be spent by the government and what items should represent priorities for government expenditure. For example, instead of spending such large amounts on subsidies, these funds should more appropriately be channeled to education. However, there’s no chance for such discussions to start, as long as the quota system remains in place.

Megawer needs to understand that the world has gone well past the quota. Keeping it is pathetically comical.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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