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Egypt's New Parliament to Meet, Choose Speaker
January 23, 2012

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Egypt's newly elected parliament will assemble for the first time on Monday, after weeks of voting spurred on by large turnouts of voters who couldn't wait to discover that their votes were actually counted.

In the three rounds of voting for the lower house of Parliament, the longtime opposition organization the Muslim Brotherhood gained the largest percentage of the vote, at 38 percent. The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party will likely contribute the Parliament new Speaker, Mohamed el-Katatni.

Also scoring very highly in the percentage of votes cast was the al-Nour Party, a hardline Islamist party, with 29 percent.

Voters cast ballots for both political party and individual seats. The result was that the FJP got even more candidates elected. Brotherhood leaders say that they have nearly half of the 498 elected seats. Some runoff elections have yet to be completed.

Meanwhile, former President Hosni Mubarak remains on trial, charged with giving orders to shoot at protesters, resulting in 850 deaths during a few weeks in early 2011. Mubarak, still recovering from multiple ailments at the advanced age of 83, has wheeled into the courtroom each day.

The ruling military generals have proved unpopular with the protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square and elsewhere, who insist that the generals have not moved quickly enough, if at all, to make the country ready for elected rule. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which seized power when Mubarak fled, has said it would hand over power to the newly elected government, including a new president, has assembled. The presidential election is scheduled in the next couple of months.

All of this hasn't stopped the protests in the streets, where young people, mainly, protest the slow pace of change. Many youth groups have promised peaceful protests outside the Parliament building. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have promised to form a human chain around Parliament in an attempt to make sure that protests don't become violent.



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