Egypt's first parliament in three years holds opening session

Egypt's first parliament in more than three years held its opening session on Sunday after a court dissolved the previous legislature dominated by Islamists.

The 596 deputies in the parliament, which is heavily dominated by supporters of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, will swear an oath of loyalty to the constitution.

The parliament is also expected to elect its president at the close of the session.

The last parliament, elected after the 2011 uprising against dictator Hosny Mubarak and 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 army chief, stepped in to oust the Islamist leader.

Authorities say the parliamentary election was the last step in a roadmap to restore democracy after alleged abuses under Morsi.

The majority of members of the new parliament are independent, 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 leader of the only opposition party to win seats, 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 El Watan newspaper.

Last update: Sun, 10/01/2016 - 14:00
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