Egypt Launches Campaign To Replace MP Who Met With Israeli Envoy

Egyptian talk show host Tawfiq Okasha attends his trial on charge of calling for the murder of President Mohamed Morsi, on September 1, 2012 in Cairo.

JAFFA, Israel – An election for the parliamentary seat of an Egyptian lawmaker suspended for meeting with the Israeli ambassador has been set for April 15, with the campaign slated to kick off on Friday.

Tawfiq Okasha (pictured), an anti-Islamist politician and outspoken television commentator, was ousted last month following a public outcry and widespread protests in his constituency after he met with Haim Koren, Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt.

Sixteen candidates will seek to replace Okasha, who has been accused of endangering Egypt’s national security and subjected to abuse and violence, including from fellow MPs.

Okasha, who issued a public apology, appealed his suspension, saying it was illegal, but commentators unanimously agree it will not be retracted.

Public opinion in Egypt is overwhelmingly against normalization with Israel, but the two governments cooperate closely on security.