Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Egypt's Shura council - dominated by Islamists - sworn in in

A newly elected Shura Council – Egypt's upper house of parliament – that is heavily dominated by Islamists, has been sworn in on Tuesday. Ahmed Fahmi, a leading member of Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party was elected as chairman. Two deputy speakers, one from the Salafist Nour party, the other from the liberal Wafd party, were also elected.

Entrance Shura Council
Islamists won an 80% majority of the 180 seats that were elected in an elections process that was completed on 22 February. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) got 105 seats (58 per cent), the Salafist Nour party 45 seats (25%). Two liberal-oriented forces of the Egyptian Bloc came third and fourth, with just 14 seats (7.7 per cent) and 8 seats (4.4 per cent) respectively. Two offshoots of Mubarak's defunct National Democratic Party, the Freedom Party and the Democratic Peace Party, got four seats (2 per cent). Independents won the remaining four.
The Shura Council in this way mirrors the People’s Assembly, where Islamists got two thirds and liberals and independents won the remaining third of the seats. However, the total number of Shura Council seats stands at 270 – 180 of which are elected. The remaining 90 members will be appointed by Egypt's next president who is expected to take over from the army by the end of June.

 The two houses – the 678 elected members of the People’s Assembly and the 180 elected members of the Shura Council – will meet on 3 March to appoint the committee tasked with drafting the constitution. Out of a total of 678, the Islamist deputies in the two houses are numbered at 487 (337 in the People’s Assembly and 150 in Shura Council), thus forming around 70 per cent.
The Shura Council was created by late President Anwar El-Sadat in 1980 to take charge of regulating the national press and the formation of political parties. The speaker of the Shura Council used to be a de-facto head of the Higher Press Council and the Political Parties Committee. The Council was also entrusted with preparing reports on political and socio-economic issues facing Egypt.

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