CAIRO - Egypt's parliament held its first session Monday, January 23, since a popular uprising that ended president Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule.
"I invite the distinguished assembly to stand and read the fatiha (Qur'anic verses) in memory of the martyrs of the January 25 revolution ... because the blood of the martyrs is what brought this day," Mahmoud al-Saqa, 81, a member of the liberal Wafd party, who as oldest member of the house acted as speaker, said, Reuters reported.
After commemorating with the silent prayer, each member read the oath of office.
Some MPs wore bright yellow sashes in protest against military trials of civilians.
One Islamist lawmaker, Mamdouh Ismail, read the oath that vows allegiance to the nation and its laws but added his own words "so long as it does not oppose God's law," prompting the speaker to tell him repeat it without his own addition.
The new parliament is dominated by Islamist groups, which took nearly two-thirds of seats.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) was the biggest winner, taking nearly 47% of parliament seats. The Salafist Al-Nour party trailed second with 29 percent.
The new parliament is set to form an assembly that would be tasked with writing the country's new constitution.
Monday's session marks the revival of an assembly that in the early 20th century was a vibrant forum for the nation's aspirations and filled with deputies who vied with the monarch and Egypt's British overlords.
Parliament's independent voice was extinguished after a 1952 coup that toppled the king and swept military-backed autocrats to power.
Egyptians are closely following the new parliament to fulfil the revolution's goals for equality and social justice.
"Today we resume the revolution, Kamal Abu Etta, prominent labor union activist and member of the non-religious Karama party, said as he entered the parliament building.
We have wasted a year. We have work to do."
Youth movements, who galvanized Egyptians in the 18-day revolt against Mubarak, staged a small demonstration outside the building to ensure protesters killed in the uprising were not forgotten.
"We do not contest the popular mandate of parliament, but it better deliver on the rights of martyrs and wounded, activist Mohamed Fahmy said before the session began.
We fear political parties may vie for political gain and ignore the youth."
Egypt is set to hold election of the upper house of parliament later this month, to be followed by presidential election in June.
The Muslim Brotherhood's party, which dominates the parliament, says it will cooperate with all parties to cruise the country into stability."We will cooperate with everyone: with the political forces inside and outside parliament, with the interim government and with the military council until we reach safety heralded by presidential election," said Essam el-Erian, deputy FJP head.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net