Candidates jostle to be Egypt parliamentary speaker

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Jan 2012

Ahram Online looks at the candidates to become Egypt's first post-revolution speaker of parliament, which is scheduled to hold its opening session on 23 January

FJP to announce their nominee to be speaker of the parliament on 16 January (Photo: Reuters)

Negotiations to select the first parliamentary speaker of the post-Mubarak era are underway among political parties before its opening session scheduled for 23 January.

Dr Saad El-Katatni, former head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc and current secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), says the party will meet on the 16 January to select its nominee for the position.

The FJP took almost 45 per cent of the seats in recent elections to become the largest party in the new parliament.

According to the FJP’s senior coordinator Ali Abdel-Fattah, the Democratic Alliance – which includes ten parties (one of which is the FJP) – will also nominate a separate member for the vacant position.

Abdel-Fattah adds that the alliance aims for a speaker acceptable to all political parties, including leftists and liberals, but it is the elected members of parliament’s right to select the speaker.

Another possible nominee is the FJP’s vice president Dr Essam El-Erian.

Abdel-Fattah says the party’s main concern is not positions but rather the ability to work through the transitional period.

He also says there is a high possibility that FJP members will lead five parliamentary committees, including defence, national security and legislation.

Sources from the Muslim Brotherhood imply that the parliament’s two deputy speakers will either be an ally of the Brotherhood and a Salafist Nour Party member, or two liberals.

The Salafist Nour Party has nominated both El-Sayed Mostafa, parliamentarian for Kafr El-Sheikh, and Ashraf Thabet of Alexandria for one of the deputy speaker positions.

Spokesman of Tagammu Party and Egyptian Bloc coordination committee member, Nabil Zaki, states that the bloc’s nominee may be Amr El-Shobaki, a liberal political science researcher and writer.

However, it seems that the Nour Party would be reluctant to vote for a liberal deputy speaker after the party’s official spokesman, Nader Bakkar, said it would be impossible for the party to form a coalition with any non-Islamist party. Yet he claimed the party was aiming for a common understanding to ensure there is no monopoly over decision making in parliament.

The Nour Party, along with a group of Islamic and liberal parties, have called for a National Responsibility Initiative to establish a cohesive platform for the parliament and to ensure clear communication with the public.

Furthermore, the Wafd Party’s supreme council, headed by El-Sayed El-Badawi, is set to meet with members of the FJP to seek coordination in the parliament tasked with drafting the new constitution.

On Saturday, a re-run was held in three districts in the third stage of parliamentary elections following a court decision.

Primary parliamentary election results show the FJP-led Democratic Alliance winning 233 seats, followed by the Nour Party-led Islamic Alliance with 121, the liberal Wafd Party with 45  and the Egyptian Bloc with 39.

EL-Katatni stresses that “the revolution's parliament” has the rights of martyrs on its agenda, along with introducing and protecting the rights of each Egyptian citizen.

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