CAIRO: Freedom and Justice Party MPs headed nine out of 19 committees in the People’s Assembly, its Speaker Saad El-Katatny announced in Tuesday’s session.
The most prominent are Essam El-Erian for the foreign affairs committee, Saad El-Husseiny for budget and planning, General Abbas Mekheimar for defense and national security and Councilor Mahmoud El-Khodeiry for the legislative affairs committee.
In a statement last week, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm announced its nominations for the committees: nine FJP members, three affiliated with other parties and one independent.
Mohamed El-Sawy, head of El-Sawy Cultural Wheel and leading member of the Civilization Party, was elected head of the culture, media and tourism committee and Mohamed El-Sadat of the Reform and Development Party for human rights. El-Sawy was supported by the FJP during the elections.
The heads of committees are responsible for leading discussion with the designated ministers and would have a role in managing sessions and approving laws, according to Mazen Hassan, professor of electoral systems in Cairo University.
Female MPs were left out from the positions of committee heads and deputies.
The selection of the heads of the PA’s 19 committees took place on Jan. 31 instead of last Tuesday as many members rejected the FJP’s domination of the committees. Al-Wafd Party’s members did not participate in the elections and others, such as Mostafa El-Naggar boycotted it completely.
Other FJP members heading committees include Akram El Shaeir for health, Osama Yassin for youth, Sabry Amer for transportation, Saber Abdel Saber for local administration and Al Sayed Askar for religious affairs.
The Salafi Al-Nour Party’s Mahmoud Abdallah Ibrahim was nominated for the agriculture committee and Al-Karama’s Al-Saeed Idrees for Arab affairs. MP Tarek Hassan Al-Dessouky was named for economy, Saber Abdel Fotouh for manpower, Ibrahim Abou Ouf for housing, Shaaban Ahmed Abdel Aleem for higher education and scientific research and Talaat Marzouk for complaints and proposals.
Despite all the critique against the FJP for dominating the committee, analysts agreed that the rule of majority reigns in any PA.
"The FJP was capable, being the majority, to lead all the committees, but they gave the opportunity to other parties to have leading positions in the PA which indicates that they’ll be cooperative," said Diaa Rashwan, head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
However, according to Rashwan even though the FJP has relinquished some committees, it took over the influential ones such as foreign affairs, budget and planning and legislative affairs. “Even if it’s not heading the committee they will most probably have major positions such as deputies,” he said, referring to the culture, media and tourism committee, whose deputy is Sobhi Saleh, an FJP member.
“At the end of the day, they are the majority and the majority rules in a democracy,” he added.
The PA’s general committee was also selected. It includes parliament speaker Saad El-Katatny, and the two deputies and heads of party blocs, as well as five members: Mostafa Bakry for the independents, Waheed Abdel Meguid, Al-Wafd’s Margaret Azer, FJP’s Mohamed El-Beltagi and Al-Nour’s Younis Abdel Hamid.
The morals committee was also selected, headed by the PA deputy, Al-Nour’s Ashraf Thabet, and including the heads of the legislative, religious, proposals and complaints and human rights committees, as well as party blocs heads, Azer for Al-Wafd, El-Erian for FJP and Mohamed Abou Hamed for the Egyptian Bloc.