Egypt’s new parliament to convene on January 10

Cairo – Egypt today said the country’s new parliament will convene on January 10, weeks after a legislative election that was marred by a low turnout in the absence of any opposition.

The first parliamentary election since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 was held in two phases between October 17 and December 2, and saw a turnout of only 28.3 per cent.

“President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called for the parliament to convene on January 10,” presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef told AFP.

Analysts say the new 596-member parliament is expected to rubber-stamp government decisions in the absence of the main Islamist opposition, Morsi’s now blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

Lawmakers were elected under a complex system of independent candidates and party lists.

All party list seats went to the For Love of Egypt coalition, an alliance of parties and groups that support Sisi.

The individual seats went to a mix of party-affiliated candidates and independents. The new assembly will also include 28 members appointed by Sisi today.

The low turnout came after authorities launched a deadly crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hundreds of Brotherhood supporters have been killed and thousands jailed, while hundreds more have been sentenced to death.

The group had dominated the previous parliamentary election held between late 2011 and early 2012. That assembly was dissolved months later by a court on technical grounds.

The Brotherhood faced a strong backlash during Morsi’s sole year in power, with millions taking to the street demanding his resignation and prompting the military to intervene.

Though reviled by Islamists and secular dissidents who have not been spared the crackdown on dissent, Sisi remains popular with many who say a strong man is needed at Egypt’s helm.

Sisi, the former army chief who ousted Morsi and then won presidential elections in 2014, had promised the parliamentary election as the last stage in a return to democracy after toppling his predecessor.

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