Egypt’s parliament swears in, starts voting for speaker and deputies

After swearing the constitutional oath, Egypt’s parliamentarians have started the process for electing the new speaker of parliament.

MP and constitutional law professor Ali Abdel-Al, who is nominated by the majority parliamentary bloc In Support of Egypt, will likely be elected as the speaker of Egypt’s new parliament.

Kamal Ahmed is also running for the post.

The election of a speaker will be decided for the first time with the absence of a powerful ruling party. Under the 30-year rule of former president Hosni Mubarak, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) had the upper hand in selecting the speaker and two deputies.

Egyptian parliamentarians gathered inside the House of Representatives building in downtown Cairo to take the oath and begin the first session, ending a four-year hiatus.

This is Egypt’s largest parliament to date.

The MPs are divided into 448 independents, 120 party-based deputies, and 28 presidential appointees.

Each MP is obliged to read out the oath: “I swear by Almighty God to loyally uphold the republican system of Egypt, respect the constitution and the law, fully observe the interests of the people, and to safeguard the independence of the nation and integrity and unity of its land.”

Lawyer Bahaaa Abu-Shoqa, 77, is the oldest parliamentarian, thus, according to parliament’s law, will be the speaker of the first session until the rest of the MPs elect a speaker and two deputies.

Abu-Shoqa was appointed to the House of Representatives by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, as one of the 28 presidential appointees.

Four members apologised for not being able to attend the first parliamentary session. One of the members not present is buisnessman Farag Amer.

The meeting is the first of its kind after the country’s two previous parliaments were dissolved — the first in February 2011 and the second in June 2012 — and after former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted from office in July 2013.

The meeting also represents the completion of the third stage of a political roadmap adopted since the removal of Morsi.

The other stages included the passing of a new constitution, in January 2014, and the election of a president, former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, in June 2014.

source: Ahram Online