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Egypt parliament to celebrate 150-year history in Sharm El-Sheikh

Parliamentary officials unveiled Saturday the details of a celebration aimed at marking parliament's 150-year anniversary

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 10 Sep 2016
Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal
File Photo: Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal (Photo: Reuters)
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Ahmed Saadeddin, the secretary-general of Egypt's parliament, unveiled Saturday the details of a one-day celebration aimed at marking the 150th anniversary of the inception of parliamentary life in Egypt.

Saadeddin told reporters that the celebration will be held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on 9 October.

"It will be held in the convention hall at Sharm El-Sheikh and speakers of key world parliaments will be invited to attend this big event," said Saadeddin.

On 6 September, speaker Ali Abdel-Aal told MPs that the celebration on 9 October will not be confined to marking parliament's 150-year legacy.

"It is primarily intended to honour parliament's historic significance in Egypt's public and political life while also drawing attention to Egypt's political stability and progress towards accountable and effective governance," said Abdel-Aal.

The history of Egypt's Western-style parliament, the first in the Arab, African and Middle East regions, dates back to 22 October 1866 when the 75-MP Council of Consultative Deputies (Maglis Shura Al-Nuwab) was formed.

The council, opened during the era of Khedive Ismail (1863-1879), held its first meeting on 25 November 1866.Saadeddin indicated that "speakers from the Russian, American, European, Chinese and Japanese parliaments will be on the list of invitees."

"Not to mention that speakers of the Arab parliaments and heads of the international, Arab and African parliamentary unions will be also invited," he said.

Saadeddin disclosed that the Sharm El-Sheikh celebration will be attended by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, and the country's 596 MPs.

"President El-Sisi and speaker Ali Abdel-Aal will deliver speeches, to be followed by a short documentary film on Egypt's 150-year-old parliamentary life," said Saadeddin.

Saadeddin added that a public relations exhibition will be held on the sidelines of the celebration.

"It will be organised by a number of Egypt's key tourist and commercial companies and aims to promote Egypt's tourist and business potentials among guests," he said.

Egypt's embassy in Washington also announced this month that it has launched an advertising campaign under the title "150 years of Egyptian parliamentary life…Meet Egypt's new parliament."

The Egypt embassy in the US said the campaign - which is currently displayed on tourist buses across Washington - also coincides with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry's participation in the Fourth Nuclear Summit next month.

Speaker Abdel-Aal told MPs on 6 September that Egypt's new parliament, which opened 10 January, is the most empowered and diverse parliamentary body in Egyptian history.

"For example, women made extraordinary gains and now hold 89 seats in the House of Representatives, making the highest percentage of female representation (14.9 percent) in parliament's 150-year history," said Abdel-Aal, adding that "the same is also true about Christians whose number now stands at 39 (6.5 percent) while the number of political parties represented in parliament rose to 19, with 245 MPs (41.1 per cent)."

 

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