From Nose Job to No Job, MP Leaves Bad Smell
By Alastair Beach
As befits a Parliament born of revolution, Egyptâ€™s six-week-old Peopleâ€™s Assembly has not been without its growing pains.
The opening session was marked by petty squabbling among MPs, while last month one pious representative earned a rebuke from the Speaker after reciting the Islamic call to prayer during a parliamentary session.
But Egyptians this week were digesting another inevitable byproduct of democracy – a bona fide political scandal after a fundamentalist Muslim MP was sacked by his party after lying about having plastic surgery on his nose.
Anwar al-Balkimy, an MP for the al-Nour Party, underwent the operation in a west Cairo clinic last month – despite fundamentalist religious edicts forbidding surgery on cosmetic grounds.
Al-Balkimy then defied his doctorâ€™s orders to remain in the clinic until he had recovered, creeping out 24 hours after surgery in the dead of night.
In a further twist, last week Egyptian newspapers reported that the MP had turned up at a second hospital in 6 October City, on the edge of western Cairo.
They quoted Al-Balkimy saying he had been brutally attacked by masked gunmen while travelling in a desert highway.
The politician was shown in a hospital bed, his head wrapped in bandages, telling reporters how he had been beaten unconscious and robbed of 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($20,800).
His false claims led to an outcry against the Government for failing to address a crime wave that has been plaguing Egypt since last yearâ€™s uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak.
The articles were spotted by staff at the clinic which operated on him, who then called the police.
Dr Yousri Hamad, a spokesman for the Al-Nour Party, said a committee of party chiefs visited Al-Balkimy in hospital and forced him to resign.
â€œHe lied to us,â€ said Hamad. â€œBeing a liar is not acceptable in our party.â€
According to blogger Wael Eskandar, Al-Balkimyâ€™s fall from grace was no surprise.
â€œItâ€™s all about cosmetics for the [An Nour Party],â€ he said.
â€œThe beards are cosmetic and the values are cosmetic. It drives the point that itâ€™s all about appearances.â€
– Independent, AP