egipat egypt parlament.jpg
Photograph: EPA/NAMER GALAL EGYPT

Egypt's first parliament in more than three years held Sunday its inaugural session, which briefly slid into mayhem.

Maverick deputy Mortada Mansour caused an uproar in the 569-member assembly when he refused to stick to a text while taking the constitutional oath.

Mansour, who is also the head of Egypt’s famous Zamalek Sports Club, pledged to respect "articles of the constitution" rather than "the constitution" as the text states.

The improvisation signalled his opposition to a prelude to the constitution, which stipulates that the 2011 uprising that deposed longtime autocrat Hosny Mubarak is a revolution.

"I am fed up with January 25. I will not recognize it as a revolution," Mansour declared at the session, aired live on state television. "I'm free in what I believe."

His outburst drew an objection from several lawmakers, prompting head of the procedural session, Bahaa Abu Shuqa, to threaten to suspend the session over the altercation.

After persuasion from some lawmakers, Mansour agreed to stick to the oath-taking text in his repeated swearing-in.

Mansour is a loyalist of Mubarak and the incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, who took office in 2014.

Mubarak's opponents accuse al-Sissi of reviving the regime of the former dictator, an accusation denied by the ex-army chief.

The legislature, heavily dominated by al-Sissi's backers, Sunday elected lawmaker Ali Abdel-Al as its speaker for a five-year term.

Abdel-Al, a law professor, won 401 out of the valid 580 votes cast at the session, Abu Shuqa announced. 

Six other deputies competed for the post.

Abdel-Al is a member of the For Love of Egypt, a pro-Sissi alliance.

In a show of patriotism, some deputies held the national flag while taking the oath.

A deputy from the Salafist Nur party, the only Islamist force in parliament, read the oath-taking text while holding a copy of the Koran.

The last parliament, elected after the anti-Mubarak uprising and was dominated by Islamists, was dissolved in mid-2012 after a court ruling voided the elections.

That led to a constitutional crisis which inflamed tensions between the Muslim Brotherhood, led by the country's first elected president Mohammed Morsi, and the secular opposition.

The struggle culminated in mass demonstrations against Morsi. Al-Sissi, who was then the defence minister, stepped in to oust the Islamist leader.

The Muslim Brotherhood was later outlawed and listed as a terrorist organization.

The majority of members of the new parliament are independents, most of them avowed supporters of al-Sissi.

The largest single party, the centre-right Free Egyptians Party founded by Christian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, holds 65 seats.

The parliamentary election, held late last year, was the third and last step in a military-backed transition plan announced after Morsi's overthrow. 

The first two steps were the ratification of a new constitution and the presidential election won by al-Sissi.

The leader of the only opposition party to win seats in the new legislature, Mohammed Abu al-Ghar of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, on Saturday charged that the elections had been "engineered."

The country's powerful security services had exerted pressure in the selection of candidates, Abu al-Ghar charged in an interview with the private El Watan newspaper.

Related stories

Latest news

Two charged for racially insulting actor Jamie Foxx in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik police will bring misdemeanour charges against two men for disturbing the peace on Sunday night in a local restaurant when they racially insulted African American actor Jamie Foxx, who is currently in Dubrovnik filming "Robin Hood: Origins".

Opposition youth leader arrested in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean police on Monday arrested an opposition youth leader on charges of inciting public violence against the government of President Robert Mugabe, the youth leader’s lawyer said.

Turkey dismisses 227 judges and prosecutors

Turkey's top judicial body on Monday dismissed 227 judges and prosecutors who are accused of having links to a cleric blamed for last year's coup attempt, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Germany vows to do all it can to free journalist detained in Turkey

The German Foreign Ministry on Monday hailed German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel as a symbol of free speech as it vowed to treat his case with the "utmost importance" in order to secure his release.

Minister: State of education system not disastrous, Croatia leads in some indicators

Croatian Science and Education Minister Pavo Barisic has opposed assessments that the situation in the education system is disastrous, underlining that according to some indicators, Croatia is among the best European countries, as evidenced by the fact that as many as 97% of teachers attend seminars and lectures, a rate much above the European average.

Le Pen says al-Assad is better solution for Syria than Islamic State

France's far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains the more reassuring solution for France than Islamic State.

Residents in northern Greece oppose refugee children attending school

There were renewed clashes between angry residents and police in the northern Greek town of Oreokastro on Monday, where some locals have for months opposed children from a nearby refugee centre being taught at the local school.

Germany, France slam Russia's acceptance of Ukrainian rebel passports

EU member states Germany and France, which have been seeking to mitigate the conflict between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, on Monday broadly condemned Russia's recognition of rebel-issued passports.

Stier says Croatia strongly supports Kosovo, calls for enhancing economic cooperation

The Croatian minister announced a closer economic cooperation with Kosovo.

Afghanistan demands Pakistan hand over militants, shut training camps

The Afghan government has demanded that Pakistan hand over terrorists operating on its soil and close tens of terrorist training camps, the Foreign Ministry in Kabul said Monday.

Four Russian servicemen in Syria killed in vehicle bombing

Four Russian servicemen were killed and two others injured when a remote-controlled bomb exploded under their vehicle in Syria's western Homs region, Russian state media reported Monday, citing the Defence Ministry.

Iraqi forces advance in Mosul as US Defence Secretary visits Baghdad

Iraqi forces pressed on with their offensive to dislodge the extremist Islamic State militia from their stronghold in northern Iraq, as US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis landed in Baghdad on an unannounced official visit.