Tuesday, December 14, 2010
CAIRO: Egypt’s new Parliament convened for the first time Monday, as about 20 opposition lawmakers defeated in disputed legislative polls announced the formation of their own rogue legislature.
The new Parliament re-elected Fathi Srur as speaker ahead of a formal opening session Sunday, while prominent opposition figure and independent MP Mustafa Bakri read a statement on the creation of the “People’s Parliament.”
Bakri and other legislators, including from the opposition Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal Wafd party, stood on the steps leading to Egypt’s State Council.
The State Council or Maglis al-Dawla is the court authorized to settle administrative disputes concerning the exercise of public power.
The rogue MPs pledged allegiance to respect the Constitution and said their alternative parliament would reflect the will of the people.
Two dozen protesters also joined the lawmakers outside the court, some of them holding placards saying the November 28 and December 5 parliamentary elections should be nullified.
“Blatant fraud: Nul. Nul. Nul,” said one sign. Others held up a white banner that read: “This is the coffin of fairness and transparency.”
A coalition of rights groups which monitored the vote has called for the dissolution of the new Parliament.
President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party clinched control of four-fifths of the new Parliament, securing 420 of 508 seats, while independents garnered 70 seats and the opposition trailed far behind with 14 seats.
Wafd secured six seats although it had boycotted the second and last round of voting along with the Muslim Brotherhood on December 5
The Muslim Brotherhood won a fifth of seats in Parliament at the last election in 2005 and none in the last polls.
Hundreds of Egyptian opposition activists protested Sunday over what they said were bogus elections that had produced an illegitimate Parliament, even as the president hailed the vote as a “milestone” for democracy.
The protest took place outside the Supreme Court in downtown Cairo shortly after Mubarak congratulated the NDP for its sweeping victory on live television.
The opposition, as well as international rights activists, have condemned the polls for widespread rigging and called for the results to be annulled. – AFP,