Egypt parliament holds first session

The Islamists dominated new Egyptian Parliament on Monday held its first session after the landmark polls since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak with a candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood tipped to become its first speaker.

The inauguration of the first post Mubarak-era legislature came as the Brotherhood has eased off talks of Islamisation and instead declared that it will go for fixing Egypt’s ailing economy.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which has won 47.18 per cent of seats in the 498-member Egyptian parliament, appears at the moment to be avoiding any fanatic views as the army, which took over when Mubarak was ousted will still hold ultimate powers for six more months.

The Brotherhood linked Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won 235 seats in the new People’s Assembly.

The first session of the House was chaired by Mahmoud el-Saqqah, the chamber’s oldest lawmaker. The lower house of the Egyptian parliament, known as People’s Assembly, was due to elect a speaker and two deputies later in the session.

Saad el-Katatni, a lawmaker from the Muslim Brotherhood, has been nominated by the Freedom and Justice Party for the post of the parliament speaker.

There has been an agreement last week between the FJP, Salafi Nour and liberal Al-Wafd, to elect Mohammed Saad al-Katatni of the Brotherhood linked group to be the new Speaker. Al-Katatni is expected to face Essam Sultan of the moderate Islamic Wasat Party.

Freedom and Justice Party and Nour party are severely contesting to head the service committees of health and education.

The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb called on the MPs to remember the people who lost their lives for them to reach parliament and to remember the poor. He also reminded them that the people will be watching them and will not settle for less than their aspirations.

The elections which were held amid the trial of jailed former ruler Mubarak are dubbed as the freest in Egypt’s modern history. Elections for Egyptian parliament’s upper House, a powerless body known as the Shura Council, will begin later this month.

Presidential elections are set to be held before the end of June, when the military generals who took over from Mubarak in February last year are due to step down. Mubarak was forced out of office by an 18-day popular uprising last year.

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