Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Full House

The appointment of 28 MPs by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi finalises the membership of the House of Representatives. Gamal Essam El-Din provides a breakdown of who’s who

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The inaugural session of House of Representatives’ five-year term will be held on 10 January. It follows the appointment of 28 parliamentarians.

The appointments were made in a decree by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, issued on 31 December 2015, in accordance with Article 102 of the constitution and Article 27 of the House of Representatives Law.

The House of Representatives will now comprise 596 MPs, the largest number in Egypt’s 150-year parliamentary history.

The presidential appointees include 14 women and public figures from the worlds of politics, the law, religion, economics and sports. Among them are Sayed Abdel-Al, chairman of the Tagammu Party; Bahaaeddin Abu Shuka, secretary-general of the Wafd Party; Sirri Siam, a former chairman of the Court of Cassation and the Higher Council of Judges; and Osama Al-Azhari, a cleric affiliated with Al-Azhar and a presidential advisor on religious affairs.

Ahmed Saadeddin, secretary-general of the House of Representatives, has announced that all parliamentary seats are now filled.

The official parliamentary report on elections, held between 17 October and 16 December 2015, says 351 MPs were elected as independents and 245 as party representatives. The latter are drawn from 19 political parties. The Free Egyptians won 65 seats, followed by the Future of Homeland Party with 53, and the Wafd Party with 36.

The three leading parties are all funded by businessmen. The Free Egyptians Party was founded by tycoon Naguib Sawiris and the Future of Homeland, headed by 24-year-old Mohamed Badran, is bankrolled by steel tycoon Ahmed Abu Hashima and Alexandrian industrialist Mohamed Farag Amer.

The Wafd Party, led by tycoon Al-Sayed Al-Badawi, financed its election campaign with donations made by party members from the business community.

The three political parties that emerged with the lion’s share of party seats support neo-liberal economic policies. They have made it clear that as the poll’s biggest winners they expect their members to occupy leading roles on parliamentary committees.

The official report also records that three political parties contesting the polls for the first time won 43 seats between them. The Guardians of the Nation took 18 seats, while the People’s Republican Party took 13 and the Congress Party 12.

Six political parties led by officials linked to ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s now-defunct ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) won 25 seats between them. The Conservatives Party took six, Democratic Peace Party five, Egyptian National Movement four, Modern Egypt Party four, Freedom Party three, and Misr Baladi (Egypt My Homeland) three.

The Reform and Development Party, led by politician Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, won three seats.

The majority of political parties now represented in the House of Representatives support the policies of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, especially when it comes to balancing the long-time strategic relationship with the US by opening up to other international powers.

The Salafist Nour Party, the only Islamist party to run in the elections, won a meagre 11 seats, down from the 112 seats it secured in the 2012 parliament.

Leftist political parties also saw their support crumble. Five leftist factions managed to win just nine seats between them. The Egyptian Social Democratic Party won four and Tagammu two, while the Arab Nasserists, Free Egyptian Edifice and Guardians of the Revolution managed just one seat each. In 2012, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party won 17 seats and the Socialist Popular Alliance seven.

Women and Copts won more seats than in previous elections. Of the 87 women MPs, 73 were elected and 14 appointed. The House of Representatives’ 39 Coptic members include three appointees and 36 elected MPs. In the 2012 parliament, 11 women and the same number of Copts won seats.

Fifty-nine new MPs are lawyers, 50 are former police officers and 40 are businessmen. Forty MPs are affiliated with the health sector, having worked either as doctors or pharmacists, 18 MPs are journalists and there are three TV anchors.

The new intake also includes 22 teachers, 22 engineers, 14 retired army officers, 13 sportsmen, 12 accountants, eight village mayors, 27 farmers and three Mazzouns, sheikhs who register marriages.

Three newly elected MPs have cabinet experience: Ibrahim Al-Orabi, a former minister of foreign affairs; Osama Heikal, a former minister of information; and Ali Al-Moselhi, a former minister of social solidarity. There is also one former provincial governor, Kamal Amer, who served as governor of Aswan.

More than 200 current MPs previously occupied seats in either the People’s Assembly or the Shura Council.

The new House of Representatives will include 455 MPs with higher education degrees (30 of them with PhDs and ten with master’s), 82 MPs with secondary or vocational certificates, and 31 MPs with non-secondary educations.

It is also a more youthful parliament than usual. Seven MPs are aged between 25 and 29, 54 between 25 and 35, and 122 MPs are between 36 and 45.

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