Egyptian MPs meet for first time in four years

Egyptian MPs meet for first time in four years
Egyptian MPs took their oaths on Sunday, in the first parliamentary session since former President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in 2013's military coup.
2 min read
10 January, 2016
The meeting is the first of its kind in four years [Getty]

Recently elected Egyptian MPs gathered at the parliament in Cairo on Sunday to begin the first parliamentary session in four years.

At seventy-seven years-old, and Egypt's most senior MP, Bahaa Abu Shoka has been assigned to head the first session until the rest of the MPs elect a speaker and two deputies.

Abu Shoka - a prominent lawyer and secretary-general of the Wafd Party - was appointed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as one of 28 presidential appointees.

This parliament - the largest in Egypt's history - includes 448 independent MPs and 120 party-based deputies.

Deputies affiliated with the ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party told reporters on Saturday that they would read the oath as it is and without any changes.

In 2012, Islamist and Salafist MPs surprised everyone by adding the words "without violation of principles of Islamic Sharia" at the end of the oath.

Upon the completion of the oath-taking procedure, MPs will be required to elect a speaker and two deputies.

"MPs will be asked to cast their votes in glass boxes as it will be difficult to operate the electronic voting system on the opening day," said Ahmed Saadeddin, secretary-general of parliament, told Ahram Online on Saturday.

Once a speaker is elected, he will be asked to chair the meeting, opening the door for MPs who wish to run for the Speaker's two deputies positions.

The speaker of the house is a highly sensitive position.

According to article 160 of the constitution, if the president resigns, dies, or is unable to work then the speaker of the house of representatives temporarily assumes power.

Abu Shoka said he did not intend to run for the speaker's position.

Sunday's 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.

No sessions have taken place since former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July 2013.

The meeting also marks 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 (January 2014), and the election of a president; former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (June 2014).

The parliamentary elections were held over two phases in 2015; the first in October and the second in November.