The new Egyptian People’s Assembly (PA) convenes its first session on January 23, 2012 - two days before January 25, amid busy preparation work in full swing to get the chamber ready to receive the new MPs, without Dr. Fathi Sorour, Speaker of the previous parliament, but with the presence of Councillor Sami Mahran, Secretary General of the former Parliament.
Parliament’s first session comprises three sub-sessions: the first will be devoted to procedures for election of the Speaker and the two deputies, swearing-in of the MPs, the adoption of parliamentary committees of the parties represented in the PA and the selection of a representative for the independent MPs.
After the ceremonies of the ‘procedural’ sub-session, the PA will hold a second sub-session to hear a statement from the Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, commander of the armed forces, to determine the position of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on issues to be raised during the remaining months of the transitional phase. In his statement, Field Marshal Tantawi is to renew to the PA SCAF’s pledges to implement the road map to hand over power to the elected civilian authority by 30 June, and to confirm that the parliament will exercise its constitutional and legislative powers as of January 23.
Parliament then holds a third sub-session during which the PA approves MPs’ lists detailing their wishes regarding membership of PA committees and a public debate is opened to all Members on the preparation of a new PA task list.
It is expected that the PA’s second sub-session will be attended by Dr. Kamal Ganzouri – the Prime Minister, Councillor Mohamed Ateyya – Minister of PA and Shura Council Affairs, and a number of government ministers.
So far, the winner political parties will be represented by parliamentary committees. One of the most prominent parliamentary bodies is the Wafd’s committee represented by Fouad Badrawi – closest candidate to the post of Second Deputy Speaker, and the parliamentary committee of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), that has not yet determined its representative.
For his part, Dr. Mohamed Saad Katatni, FJP candidate for Parliament Speaker and the FJP’s Secretary-General, stated that: "The upcoming parliament is the first one after the revolution, and the people expect a lot from that. So, we will – in cooperation with all PA MPs – seek to achieve the aspirations and the hopes of the Egyptian people to achieve an overall intellectual, political and social renaissance throughout the homeland."
In a press statement, Dr. Katatni said: "The top priorities of the next parliament are social justice, retribution for Martyrs, fulfilling goals and demands of the revolution and the advancement of Egypt," noting that the legislative agenda, which will be discussed by Parliament at the legislative and regulatory levels, will seek to achieve these goals.
Dr. Katatni called upon new MPs to cooperate to achieve the objectives of the Egyptian people and the demands they called for in the great revolution, pointing out that the management of the next Parliament must engage MPs of all political leanings, to take Egypt across the current phase of the transition to safety.