Egypt's new parly to hold first session

2012-01-23 10:28

Cairo - Egypt's lower house of parliament on Monday holds its first session since a popular uprising ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak, with Islamists dominating the assembly for the first time.

One year after the revolution, many Egyptians see the new parliament as the first sign of democratic rule, in sharp contrast to the toothless legislature that existed under Mubarak.

But the exact role of parliament remains unclear, with power remaining in the hands of the military generals who took power when Mubarak resigned last February.

The assembly's first session was to convene at 11:00.

Egypt's Islamists will control over two thirds of the seats after the country's first open parliamentary elections, which kicked off in November and concluded earlier this month.

The long-banned Muslim Brotherhood won a crushing victory with 47.18% in landmark parliamentary elections through its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party.

The ultra-conservative Salafist Al-Nur party came second with 24.29%, with the liberal Wafd party coming in a distant third.

The People's Assembly, or lower house, is made up of 498 elected MPs and 10 appointed by the ruling military.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), has said the 10 appointed MPs will include five Christians and two women.

Elections for parliament's upper house, the Shura Council, are to begin later this month and conclude in February. Then the two chambers will choose a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution.

The SCAF has vowed to cede power to civilian rule by June when a new president is elected.

  • Paul - 2012-01-23 11:44

    Yay democracy in the arab world ;-) Well that's what the West was saying when the Arab Spring started about a year ago. The reality, however, is that the overthrowing of Mubarak's long standing moderate dictatorship, has opened the door for the previously banned, extremist Muslim Brotherhood to rule. Egypt who have been a stablelizing force in an unstable region since their 1979 peace treaty with Israel, will now turn their backs on their peace treaty to further destablelize the region. Mark my words. I will not be surprised if they engage in a regional war this year. But I hope that I am wrong. Sometimes democracy just doesn't suit a country.

      jowza1 - 2012-01-23 12:53

      paul.Mubaruk was a dictator.he persecuted his people.He was moderate to the western powers that kept him on power,but a tyrant to his own people.your profile reads that you are a preacher,i think your comments smack of religious intolerance

      Paul - 2012-01-23 13:20

      jowza1, As far as I know Hosni Mubarak is also a Muslim (like the new leadership). So this is not religious intolerance. And I am not defending Mubarak. My concern is that democracy in Egypt has allowed an extremist party into power, which will likely result in war.

      Mthuthuzeli - 2012-01-23 13:42

      Nothing is good for everyone. As a negotiated human construction, democracy is no panacea. It is a system made within the context of history and the diversity of human identities. It is not one institutional form, or a single set of processes. There are, have been, and can be as many forms of democracy as people need to deliver the reality of human dignity and well-being to all. The most undemocratic thing is to assume you have the complete answer and insist everyone else does democracy your way. Democracy is not a straight subject, especially when you are talking about populations, not cleansed territories (like in US case - when they had exterminated almost all Indians). It's entirely possible that new political structures will arise which are not only more coherent than the west's but which even they would accept provide adequate levels of freedom for the individual.

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