Egyptian Lawmaker: People Won't Stand For A Coup
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Abdul Mawgoud Rageh Dardery is a member of Egypt's newly dissolved parliament. He represents Luxor and belongs to Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party, which is the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm. And, Mr. Dardery, what's your reaction to the decision effectively dissolving the parliament?
ABDUL MAWGOUD RAGEH DARDERY: I, as many Egyptians, are stunned by such a quick decision just a day or so before the presidential election. In fact, I was in a meeting encouraging tourism to come back to Luxor and other places in the country, and I came out of the meeting with the Freedom and Justice Party candidate, Dr. Mursi, and I found the decision I was there. It is confusing, and it is making almost every Egyptian suspicious of the timing and the way it is handed down.
CORNISH: Now, this ruling targeted people like yourself who were affiliated with the party but ran for independent seats, essentially the court said that a third of the seats in parliament should have been for independent candidates.
DARDERY: That is very true. To my surprise, if that law was approved by the military council and was sent to the same constitutional court that approved it before the election took place. So it was approved then and now it was rejected. That is - there is a big question mark, why now?
CORNISH: So you're essentially arguing that you were given permission to run for these seats, and that this is somehow being revoked?
DARDERY: Yeah. Very unfortunate so. I mean - and many people are saying this is a political decision, not necessarily a legal decision.
CORNISH: You mentioned the military, and there have been people who have gone as far as to use the term coup because the military has expanded powers right now and because this is a country right now with no president, no parliament and potentially no constitution.
DARDERY: That is - so many also people thinking that it is almost like a coup d'etat by the military. I don't think it will be a successful coup d'etat because the people of Egypt today are very different from the people of Egypt a few - a year and a half ago. I think the people of Egypt would not allow this coup d'etat to succeed, and they're going to stand against it whatever it takes. Look at so many people now are in the streets of Cairo, of Tahrir Square. And I think people - tomorrow is Friday. Unfortunately, for the army, tomorrow, Friday is a day of gathering, and so many people of Egypt are gathering. In fact, I'm invited to a big gathering in the city of Luxor to discuss this matter and what the Egyptians are going to do in the coming few days.
CORNISH: What do you plan to do to protest this?
DARDERY: We're encouraging the Egyptians very much to stand up for their rights, to stand up for democracy and not to allow anyone whatever it takes. I mean, now, Egyptians will not allow to go back to the old days of Mubarak's regime. And that assumed what is the reason behind the court decision because it is political, it is meant to discourage people to participate in the election or to prepare the platform for rigging the election. And now, there is a problem of who will execute it, would it be, again, the military council, or is it going to be left to the parliament?
We're having a session on Tuesday and the session of the parliament is going to go on. We're going to meet and discuss this, and we'll see what can be done out of this.
CORNISH: So essentially, is the parliament still trying to carry on some kind of work? Are you still meeting?
DARDERY: We left - last meeting yesterday in the parliament, and we decided to meet again on Tuesday. The meeting is still going to be on Tuesday, and we're going to go ahead and have the meeting and discuss what can be done.
CORNISH: So despite the decision by the court to dissolve the parliament, you're continuing to operate?
DARDERY: You see the court can provide a legal opinion but does not have the power to execute the dissolving of the parliament. So it is really left in the air. The military council is meeting now. The different political parties are meeting now. I expect dramatic changes late tonight or tomorrow morning.
CORNISH: Would you be prepared to step down and make way for new elections?
DARDERY: I wouldn't mind at all as long as it is legally done, as long as it is accepted by the parliament and as long as it can help democracy. I was elected by the people. I got the largest number of votes in the history of Luxor, so there isn't really any reasonable reason for me to run again for election, but I will if I have to. And at that time, I will run as an independent. So we're not really adding anything new to the Egyptian democracy; we're just creating problems for the new parliament.
CORNISH: Well, Mr. Dardery, thank you for your time.
DARDERY: Thank you.
CORNISH: Egyptian parliamentarian Abdul Mawgoud Rageh Dardery. He represents Luxor and is a member of Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party, which is the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm.
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