Egypt’s House of Representatives commenced its first session in four years, with representatives taking their parliamentary oaths.
The new parliament, with 448 independent seats, 120 party-based seats and 28 presidential appointees, is Egypt’s largest parliament to date.
According to state media Al-Ahram, each member of parliament is required 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.”
The first session of parliament will also see the election of the new parliament speaker. Currently, the role is occupied by the eldest member of the parliament, Bahaa Abu Shaqa, in accordance with parliamentary regulations. The two deputy members, who will also be elected, are currently the youngest members of parliament 26-year-olds Hassan Hussein and Noha al-Hemeily.
The new parliament convened amid disputes over who should be elected to fill the role of the speaker and the two deputies. Controversial pro-government figure Mostafa Bakry threatened yesterday to withdraw over what he called “interference from above” in the elections.
During the first session, Chairman of the Zamalek Club, the controversial figure Mortada Mansour, protested the new Constitution by stating a slightly altered oath. Instead of stating that he swore to respect “the constitution,” Mortada said he would respect the “articles of the constitution”. The different oath, which could see the member of parliament face disciplinary action, was read out as the new constitution pays tribute to the January 25 revolution and Mansour believes it was “not a revolution”.
This is Egypt’s third parliament to be elected since the January 25 revolution in 2011 and marks the final stage of the ‘June 30 road map to democracy’ which was implemented after the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.