Egyptian parliament picks speaker to push through Sisi laws

Egyptian parliament picks speaker to push through Sisi laws
2 min read
11 January, 2016
Egypt's parliament has elected lawmaker Ali Abd al-Aal as parliamentary speaker, as President Sisi looks to push through hundreds of laws issued while the assembly was suspended.
Parliament held its its first session in four years on Sunday [The New Arab]

Egypt's new parliament elected a constitutional expert as its speaker during its first session in four years on Sunday.

Ali Abd al-Aal, 68, was elected as the new parliamentary speaker for Egypt's House of Representatives, with a total of 401 votes.

Abd al-Aal, a French-educated lawyer who helped draft the constitution and election law, is a member of the "Support Egypt" coalition, an alliance of over 400 MPs loyal to President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi.

"I express my sincere thanks and appreciation towards the leader of the way, President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi," the newly elected speaker said upon assuming office.

"I will always be a defender of democracy and the principles of the January 25 and June 30 revolutions. I will also be a protector of the people's army and defender of its unity," Abd al-Aal added.

The newly elected legislature has only 15 days to approve more than 100 laws issued by executive decree over the past three years.

Everything from the Anti-Terror Act to the amended Investment Act and the new Civil Service law will be voted on by the parliament dominated by Sisi loyalists.

     
      Abd al-Aal has a long history as a state insider [YouTube]

Abd al-Aal helped write the election law on which the parliament was elected last October and November.

He boasts a long history as a state insider, having started his career as a prosecutor and served as cultural attache in Paris, as well as teaching law at the police academy and a military college.

The speaker of the house is a highly sensitive position.

According to the constitution, if the president resigns, dies, or is unable to work then the speaker of the parliament temporarily assumes power.

Sunday's meeting is the first of its kind after the country's two previous parliaments were dissolved - the first in February 2011 and the second in June 2012.

No sessions have taken place since former president Mohammad Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013.

Sunday's meeting also marks the completion of the third stage of a political roadmap adopted since the removal of Morsi.

The other stages included the passing of a new constitution in January 2014, and the election of former army chief Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi as president in June 2014.

Parliamentary elections marred by low turnout were held over two phases in 2015; the first in October and the second in November.