News / Africa

Islamist Named Speaker of Egypt House

Newly elected speaker of the Egyptian parliament, Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood, salutes during the first session of the newly-elected assembly in Cairo, January 23, 2012
Newly elected speaker of the Egyptian parliament, Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood, salutes during the first session of the newly-elected assembly in Cairo, January 23, 2012
Noel King

Egypt’s lower house of parliament convened Monday for the first time since democratic elections ushered in a new crop of lawmakers, many of them representing Islamist parties.

Following his nomination last week, Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, who previously served as Secretary General of the Freedom and Justice party, was voted in as speaker of Egypt's lower house with 399 votes on Monday.

Freedom and Justice, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, captured 47 percent of the vote in elections for the lower house of parliament.

Katatni, 60, spent much of his working career in the sciences. He was a botanist and taught botanical microbiology at the university level.

His political career emerged after joining the Muslim Brotherhood and rose through a variety of party positions in the last decade. He was elected to parliament in 2005 and  represented the parliament in numerous international conferences.

Katatni is the first Islamist speaker of the house in Egypt’s history.

Katatni has said his priorities include ensuring that Egypt moves quickly toward a democratic state and ending the interim period that began when ex-President Hosni Mubarak stepped aside one year ago

Egypt had been governed by a council of high-ranking military officers.

Political sociologist Said Sadek wonders, though, whether Katatni will be a unifying figure in the new parliament.

"A weak parliament doesn’t enjoy the support of the people," said Sadek. "A strong parliament must enjoy the support of Tahrir [the democracy protest movement]. Which means this parliament must carry out the objectives of the revolution."

Sadek said those demands include reforms for which many Egyptians have waited decades. He says it is the new parliament’s job to ensure reform.

"It must push for transitional justice, purge the Egyptian government, restructure the Ministry of Interior and the security service," Sadek said. "They have to have a new philosophy, new ideas, not the same old policy. Fighting corruption. These are the priorities."

Earlier this week, the liberal Free Egyptians party criticized Katatni, charging that he had been nominated without any input from liberal political groups.

Egyptian liberals did poorly in the parliamentary elections, which were dominated by the Islamist Freedom and Justice Party and even more conservative Salafi parties.

Elections for Egypt’s upper house of parliament, which traditionally has held little power, will begin in February. Presidential elections are scheduled for June.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid