AP is reporting that the top parties in Egypt’s incoming parliament have agreed to select Saad el-Katatni, the secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood’s own party, as the house speaker. According to the report:
(Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 Associated Press CAIRO — Top parties in Egypt’s incoming parliament have agreed to select an Islamist politician as house speaker for the first time in decades, party leaders said Monday. The Muslim Brotherhood, the big winner in the first election since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak last February, said it joined several other parties in backing Saad el-Katatni, the secretary-general of the Brotherhood’s own party. The main function of the new parliament is to pick a 100-person commission to draw up a new constitution for Egypt, while preparations take place for presidential elections scheduled for June. The selection of el-Katatni showed the power of the Islamists to influence that process. The Muslim Brotherhood-led alliance won more than 45 percent of the 498 parliament seats. A more radical Islamist movement won another 25 percent. The two are not seen likely to join forces on many issues because of their religious differences. On Monday, Brotherhood leaders met with heads of other parties to try to reach wide agreement over the choice of a speaker. Mohammed Morsi, the Brotherhood party’s leader, said the meeting was meant to give assurances that there would be no “exclusions, no polarization and no conflict. Instead there will be national consensus” in parliament. Mohammed Abouel Ghar, head of secular Egyptian Social Democratic Party, which emerged from the popular uprising, said, “We agreed to have consensus on selection of the heads of subcommittees. Even the small parties and those with only one seat will not be excluded.” Parties like his that represent reformers and activists at the center of the movement that toppled Mubarak failed to parlay that success into voting strength, splitting into several factions and winning less than a quarter of the seats in parliament.
Besides choosing the constitutional commission, the powers of the incoming parliament are limited. The parliament, set to convene Jan. 23, cannot form a government or request a vote of no confidence, according to an interim charter that transferred Mubarak’s powers to the head of the ruling military council.