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

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.