Egypt upper house picks Islamist as speaker

February 28, 2012 16:26

CAIRO - Egypt's Islamist-led upper house of parliament picked a Muslim Brotherhood deputy as its speaker on Tuesday, cementing the group's dominance in the legislature after elections handed it a majority of seats.

The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) controls 59 percent of the upper house Shura Council's seats and around 43 percent of the lower house, the People's Assembly.

Both chambers convene on Saturday to pick a 100-strong assembly to draft the country's new constitution.

Ahmed Fahmy, a little-known FJP figure, became upper house speaker. FJP Secretary General Saad el-Katatni was already picked as the lower house speaker.

"I promise to keep the same distance from everyone - no distinction between the majority and the opposition - supporting democratic practice," said Fahmy after his election.

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