Egypt’s new parliament began its opening session Sunday, for the first time in more than three years, after the previous parliament was dissolved in mid-2012, Reuters reported. The new parliament will reportedly be dominated by an alliance loyal to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The parliament has 568 elected members while another 28 were appointed by Sisi himself. The previous parliament was elected in 2011-2012 through the country's first free elections, which were held after an uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak and ended his 30-year-long presidency.
However, in 2012, a court dissolved that parliament ruling that the election laws at the time were unconstitutional, Reuters reported. A year later, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood who was elected as Mubarak’s successor, was overthrown by an army led by Sisi.
While Sisi says that the parliament's reconvening is a sign of the country’s progress toward a democratic government after the military takeover, critics say it is only a cover for authoritarianism.
“We’re seeing the social reproduction of the old system in the worst ways, and the emergence of a new kind of establishment,” Rabab al-Mahdi, a political science lecturer at the American University in Cairo, said, according to the New York Times Friday.
A report by Ahram Online, a website of a local Egyptian newspaper, said that the parliament represents the completion of the third stage of a political roadmap that was adopted after Morsi’s ouster — the first stage being the passage of the new constitution in January 2014, followed by Sisi's election as president.