Egyptian house speaker named

Demonstrations next to the Egyptian Parliament on Jan. 23, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. UPI/Ahmed Gomaa
1 of 3 | Demonstrations next to the Egyptian Parliament on Jan. 23, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. UPI/Ahmed Gomaa | License Photo

CAIRO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- An Islamist was voted in as speaker of Egypt's lower house Monday as demonstrators marched in Cairo to protest the swearing in of members of Parliament.

Artists, trade unionists and families of protesters killed in the 2011 political revolt rallied outside the Parliament building, chanting the revolution's motto, "Bread, freedom and social justice." Security forces tried to prevent them from approaching to present demands to the newly elected members, Ahram Online reported.


Egypt's 508 new members of the People's Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, were sworn in and outlined their goals and beliefs as they took the oath of office.

Voice of America reported Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, who was secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, was named the lower house's speaker with 399 votes.

Katatni, 60, the first Islamist house speaker in Egypt's history, has said he wants to see Egypt move expeditiously toward a democratic state and ending the interim governing council put in place when ex-President Hosni Mubarak was ousted a year ago

Ahram Online said applause followed new lawmaker Ziad el-Eleimi's pledge to ensure realization of revolutionary demands before taking his oath of office.


Labor lawyer and activist Haitham Mohamedein called on Parliament to adjust minimum and maximum wages, provide permanent contracts for temporary contract workers and end several laws that penalize sit-ins and demonstrations.

The mother of Mohamed Mostafa, a protester killed in last year's demonstrations that led to the ouster of Mubarak, said demonstrators wanted to give their list of demands to the new Parliament and ask that it speed up the trials of those responsible for the deaths of protesters, Ahram Online reported.

Witnesses said hundreds of people also gathered in front of the High Court in Cairo to protest trials of civilians in military courts. In parliamentary chambers, several lawmakers wore yellow sashes with the slogan "No to military trials."

Elections for the People's Assembly began in late November and were conducted in three stages. The lower chamber will work with the Shura Council, the upper chamber, to appoint a panel that will draft Egypt's new Constitution.

Elections for the less powerful upper house are to begin in February with presidential elections slated for June.

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