Monday, January 23, 2012

#EPA : The first session "Updated"

Ok ladies and gentlemen after few hours from now the first session of the Egyptian people’s assembly , our lower house of the parliament will start. It will be the first session of the people’s assembly aka our parliament “forget about Shura council” after the revolution.
Since 1866 this is from the few people’s assemblies which people actually had a choice in electing its members regardless of what you think and regardless of the violations that took place in the first democratic elections after the revolution and ousting of Mubarak in addition to the fall of the legendary NDP.
Unfortunately the official website of the Egyptian parliament is currently down , I think its administrators have got loads of data to update the website with. The administrators should know that unlike the previous website , this website will receive a lot of hits as people will follow up the new parliament.
I have already read several tweeps demanding electronic voting system in the parliament to know the exact numbers of votes. My relatives and friends are going to watch the sessions and happy to know that the Egyptian TV will make a full 24/7 channel to air the sessions. “Ironically that channel used to be Nile Drama 2”.
Indeed there will be a lot of drama. My relatives and friends are also demanding that the TV or rather the parliament to announce every session the number of members who have attended. Things have changed indeed.
This parliament includes ironically the biggest number of Christian member of parliament. Already aside from the Christian MP elected , Field Marshal Tantawy as head of SCAF “current acting president” appointed  5 Christian MPs out of 10 MPs.
This parliament also unfortunately does not have a high women participation yet I am not sad about this. There is one blind MP in this parliament , I do not know if he is the first in the history of the Egyptian parliament or not but I know he is a member of Al Nour party. There is also the first MP couple in the parliament.
Back to the first session that will be aired insh Allah in less than 24 hours from Cairo. Well here is how it will go :
  • The session will start at 11 AM
  • The first session will be headed by the oldest members of parliament and in that case I am more than proud that he will be Dr. Mahmoud El Sakka “whom I voted for during the elections in 2010”
  • It is expected that Field Marshal Tantawy will be there in the inauguration and that he will announce in a speech in front of the new parliament some thing big like for instance : lifting the emergency status.
  • The first session will witness the election of the people’s assembly’s speaker. The MB or rather FJ party got Saad El Katani as a nominee There is big competition but the MB’s long Islamist rival El Wasat got Essam Sultan as a nominee. I think El Katani has better chance.
  • There is currently big fight on who shall head the committees of the parliament and the FJ party members are everywhere.
  • Strangely there is nothing in the media on who shall head the National security committee , which is the most dangerous committee in the current time considering the facts that it allegedly supervises the army and intelligence.
  • Tomorrow there will be not less 4 marches to the parliament , it will be intense day without doubt.
  • #EPA stands for Egyptian people’s assembly as I can’t find any other proper Hash tag to use it except this.
Photos and videos will be posted it in the morning.

@11:13 AM CLT

It is on TV now , the first session transferred on aired on the channel “Sawt Al Shaab” on Egyptian TV and Nile Sat. You can watch it on Al Jazeera Mubshar Misr online as well.
The session is headed by the oldest member Dr. Mahmoud El Sakka , the undersecretaries are the youngest members in the parliament who are 28 years old Mahmoud Hamdy Ahmed of Al Nour party and 27 years old appointed MP Marian Malek.It is nice tough
El Sakka inaugurated the session with a minute of silence dedicated to the martyrs of the revolution.
Tantawy is not going to attend the first session but rather PM Ganzoury. I see some smiling faces of new elected MPs , I feel there is bad organization I see 4 veiled ladies sitting besides each other , they look like Muslim sisters “The women branch in the Muslim brotherhood”.
The women MP from FJ party
The Revolution continues MP are wearing yellow ribbons with “No For military trials” slogans , most of them independent and liberal candidates.
MP Hamazawy wore it
Outside the parliament the supporters of Muslim brotherhood and the Salafists are protecting it. They cheering for the MB and Salafist MP saying Allah Akbar. I fear from any clash between them and the protesters who will head later to the parliament.
The FJ party supporters : The parliament is the square

@11:38 AM CLT

The members now are saying the oath , we got over 400 members. Some of them are not saying as it is and adding what they want. It started with Ultra conservative MP Mamdouh Ismail who said that he will respect the constitution and law as long as it does not violate the Islamic Sharia then we got the pro-revolution MPs Ziad El Alimy and Al Nagar adding a pro-revolutionary parts to the oath.
El Nagar added in his oath
It is unacceptable behavior in my point of view. 
Debate about the oath.
Here is Hamzawy reading the oath.
Hamazawy reading the oath

@1:24 PM CLT

For the first time number of MPs left the first session to attend a prayer before returning back.
The FJ members applauded right after Saad El Katani swore in !!!!
Another Islamist MPs added to the oath something related to the Sharia but their microphones were muted. They are more than 3 now.
Two MPs are absent including one that was arrested after attacking police officers in Haram area.

@ 8 :46 PM CLT

I know I took a lot of time to write this post but oh God the first session has not finished yet !! Oh God 9 hours !!! This session is sponsored by Red Bull and Mount Due !!
Now where did I stop ? ah at the swearing thing !! Ok after we finished hearing the oath of nearly 400 MPs , Dr. El Sakka ordered the parliament officials to remove any addition to the oath by any MP from the session’s records. Dr. El Sakka did not like it either when one of the FJ MP held a banner saluting the martyrs while reading the oath as he considered it against the regulations.
Martyrs of the revolution we will not sell your blood

Of course the oath problem was not a big thing like the elections of the people’s assembly speaker when MP Essam Sultan of Al Wasat insisted that each nominee would have two minutes to introduce himself to other members so they would elect him. At first El Sakka refused because it is not included in the regulations of the first session but the man insisted then El Sakka said ok then the majority of the FJ MPs booed Sultan then in the end El Sakka said we would give the nominees two  minutes to speak about themselves. Thankfully there were not too many nominees but rather 3 : MP Saad El Katani of FJ party , MP Essam Sultan of Al Wasat party “The old rival of MB” and independent MP "Youssef El Badry”.
El Katani got 399 votes , Sultan got 89 votes , El Badry got 10 votes while 7 votes were null.
Sultan Congratulated El Katani later in good spirit
To be honest it was not strange because actually for weeks the FJ party announced that El Katani would be their nominee and made their deals already. It was predictable
Many people disliked the scene but actually it was a good rehearsal for opposition in the parliament , well this is what I hope for

@10:46 PM CLT

The first session is still on , we are speaking about nearly 12 hours !!
As I hinted above Saad El Katani was the nominee of the FJ Party to head the parliament. It was something expected it after all the man got 399 votes for God sake !!
Dr. Mahmoud Sakka ended his work as an interim speaker with amazing poem about the martyrs.
Announcing the new speaker of people’s assembly
Some new MPs have slept already while others spoke on their mobile phones. I understand that the session is extremely long and some of these MPs came from faraway places like in Upper Egypt but it did not look good in the first session.

@9:33 PM CLT

Field Marshal Tantawy has issued a decree by which the parliament is handed over the legislation power according to the constitutional declaration. Of course according to the constitutional declaration in the same way the people’s assembly will not be able to issue any law except after the Shura council’s elections.
It is worth to mention that all those spoke today on the podium thanked the Egyptian army and SCAF , El Katani even raised the bar and thanked the police for securing the parliament.
I think the MPs can have finished the voting for the parliament’s undersecretary , of course we still have to wait till we get the names of the undersecretaries and the members of the different committees.
It is exhausting without doubt and we have to wait for another two months till e-voting system installed in the parliament.
Nevertheless I am so proud  of today’s parliament despite my political views that oppose the majority of its members.I think this first session scored the highest viewership when it comes to parliamentary sessions since the start of the TV transmission in Egypt in 1960s !!
Egyptians watch the session like Football matches

@11:56 PM CLT

Wow the first session has finished from short awhile ago , wow 12 hours for the first session !!! Well the first session used to finish in couple of hours in time of Mubarak because simply all the committees were pre-chosen in advance by the NDP.
Ok the undersecretaries  of the parliament are one form the Nour Party and one from the Wafd party.


  1. أهلا وسهلا زينوبيا، أن من متابعي مدوناتك العربية والانكليزية منذ2007 أن علي سعيدان صاحب مدونة خيل وليل أكتب تحت اسم أزواو، وكذلك من متتبعيك على تويتر تحت اسم أزواودويري. سلأكون أنا والصديقة فاطمة أرابيكا من بين ضيوف معرض القاهرة الدولي للكتاب ما بين28 إلى 31 يناير. ستلتئم يوم 29 مائدة مستديرة حول دور المدونين في الثورة التونسية والمصرية. نكون ممنونين إن قبلت أن تكوني أحدى الأصوات المصرية التدوينية للمشاركة في هذه المائدة المستديرة. هذا بريدي الالكتروني لمزيد المعطيات
    My blog:

    1. اهلا و سهلا فى القاهرة انشا الله هاحول احضر المناقشة :)

  2. Thank you very much for this great post and it is very readable and easy to understand. I think you took your time and thought out clearly what you wanted to say and it made it much more understandable.
    Please keeep up the great work and inform us all on what is being said in the sessions. Please always take care to use good grammar, good English so we know what you mean. Its very important we understand what you are writing.

  3. I weep for the martyrs and the hopeful youngsters who fought for freedom and progress.

  4. Great post! I fully understand your pride. One little comment. Youssef El Badry isn't really an independent. He is the only single-winner MP (Kafr el-Sheikh 3, professional) of the National Party of Egypt (NP), one of the remnants of the old NDP. The NP got 4 list-seats in the new parliament plus El Badry. Do you remember his speech? What did he say?
    Earlier you promised to review the results of the elections. Please do it!
    For example, I don't understand fully how to differentiate between Independents and party members in the case of single-winner MP's. In the (official?) statitistics there are 23 Independents. Interestingly, Amr Hamazawy (Freedom Egypt-leader), Amr El Shobaki (El Adl) or Mohamed Shaker Al-Omda (Al Wafd - Aswan) are classified as Independents. And if you go to the website of the HESC and sum up the single-winner seats without party affiliation you will get even 103 single-winner MP's of those. What is that?
    Furthermore, I don't know to which of the coalition parties most of the 7 MP's of the Revolution Continues Alliance (RC) belong. I give you the names:

    CAIRO 4: عبد الحكيم اسماعيل عيد يوسف Abdul Hakim Ismail Eid Youssef عبد الحكيم ابو داوود Abdul Hakim Abu Daoud
    ALEXANDRIA 2: ابو العز حسن على الحريرى Abu Hassan Ezz Hariri (Socialist Popular Alliance)
    FAYOUM 1: نصر الدين شريف عبد العاطى Nasreddin Sheriff Abdel-Aty Dr. Nasr Abu Atwa
    BENI SUEF 1: خالد حفنى عبد الله على Khaled Hanafy Abdullah
    DAKAHLIA 1: محمد محمد شبانه محمد طلبه Mohamed Shabana
    DAKAHLIA 2: مجدى محمد على الخريبى Magdi Elkhoriby
    DAKAHLIA 3: مصطفى عبد العزيز احمد Mustafa Al-Guindy (former Wafd)

    Can you help me? By the way: Al Guindy was the only MP alltogether not present in the parliament to give his oath, right?
    It's important, I think, to analyze the reason why RC has only 7 MP's instead of 8. They lost their seat in party list district Cairo 3 in favor of Al Nour. The divisor which determines the remainder is generated by dividing the total number of votes in the district by the total number of seats for that district. But before that.the votes for parties below the national 0.5%-threshold are subtracted from the total votes This is in favor of the big parties in the list-districts. The HESC decided by their own to proceed this way. There is no specific regulation in the election law about this. In the case of Cairo 3 the votes for Modern Egypt Party and New Independents Party are subtracted and because of that RC lost his man (مصطفى محمد عبد العزيز محمد Mustafa Mohamed Abdel-Aziz Mohamed).
    5 other seats all around egypt went to the big parties FJP (3) and Al Nour (2) in this way: Al Wafd lost 2 seats, Reform and Development, Egyptian Citizen and Democratic Peace one seat each. Please look at my comment in the other thread for the corrected numbers.
    Another point is the FJP-dominated Democratic Alliance (DA). You wrote in your post that alltogether 10 MP's of DA doesn't belong to FJP. But the Alliance himself says that 22 of them aren't members of FJP. Do you know some details? Is it about the unclear affiliation of some so-called Independents?
    My problem: I don't speak arabic, so, blogs like yours are very important for people like me. I admire your work and your appoach.


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