CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), announced Monday that it has nominated the party’s Secretary General Saad Al-Katatny for the position of Speaker of the People’s Assembly.
Several parties agreed that the FJP, as the winner of the largest bloc in parliament with over 40 of the seats, should nominate the PA speaker, while the Salafi Al-Nour Party, which came in second at about 24 percent, will nominate the first deputy.
The second runner up, probably Al-Wafd, will nominate the second deputy, according to a statement issued by the FJP in a press conference Monday.
Each party will be responsible for nominating its candidate.
Emad Adel Ghaffour, head of Al-Nour, said that the party is yet to choose its candidate for the first deputy, while Al-Wafd was absent from the conference.
Mohamed Abul-Ghar, founder of the liberal Egyptian Social Democratic Party which contested the elections with the Egyptian Bloc coalition, said that the arrangement is still pending Al-Wafd’s agreement.
Al-Nour, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya’s Building and Development Party, the Reform and Development Party and Al-Karama signed a statement endorsing the arrangement.
The heads of the PA’s 19 committees will also be nominated according to the percentage of seats won by each party, with an agreement that all parties will be represented based on candidates efficiency and competence, according to leading FJP member and MP Mohamed El-Beltagi.
Abul-Ghar stressed that the agreement did not denote that any alliances or coalitions between parties.
"The two deputies will have equal responsibility in the People’s Assembly (PA)," Hussein Ibrahim, leading FJP member told Daily News Egypt, following the conference.
He added that the arrangement was reasonable because it respected and represented the people’s will in electing the majority in the PA.
Panelists stressed that the agreement represented a consensus and cooperation between all parties in the PA and guaranteed that no party will be sidelined.
"Although I had reservations on this agreement at the beginning, I sensed that all participating parties had a real desire to reach consensus and not dominate the PA based on the majority," said Mohamed Sami, head of Al-Karama Party, which is a member of the Democratic Alliance electoral coalition, spearheaded by the FJP.
Prominent businessman Ramy Lakkah, member of the Reform and Development party, an offshoot of the now disbanded National Democratic Party (NDP), addressed concerns that the Islamists would dominate the PA in the press conference.
"I want to send a message to reassure those who were worried about the results of the parliamentary elections that the Islamist majority of the PA gave everyone an opportunity [to have an effective role] in parliament," Lakkah said.
Mazen Hassan, professor of electoral systems at Cairo University agreed, saying that the FJP could have taken over all the main posts including speaker of parliament and the two deputies.
The FJP won around 46 percent of the PA seats while Al-Nour won around 24 percent, representing a majority in parliament. The final results of the elections which kicked off on Nov. 28 are yet to be announced
In countries like the UK for example, the majority party dominates the main posts, while the speaker resigns from his party once he is assigned, Hassan told DNE.
"This is a good attempt by the FJP to achieve consensus and cooperation with other parties," he added.
On his part, Al-Katatny said that retrieving the martyrs’ rights and the rights of the injured during the 18-day revolt through legislation will be the PA’s first goal.
El-Beltagi told reporters following the conference that issues such as putting an end to military trials for civilians, annulling the emergency law and setting a reasonable minimum and maximum wage will also top the agenda for the new PA.
Al-Katatny added that the PA will cooperate with the current government and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) until power is transferred to a civilian authority by the end of June.
The FJP has backed down on demands to appoint a new Cabinet as soon as the parliament is seated on Jan. 23.