Egypt’s new People’s Assembly, composed of 508 members, held its first meeting yesterday at 11 am, despite ongoing apprehension and uncertainties building up before the upcoming January 25 anniversary.
As members of parliament were being sworn in, people’s responses differed between support, doubts, opposition and even protests.
Protesters participating in two separate marches, one for freedom of creativity and the other against military trials, joined each other and headed to the parliament building, while chanting; “don’t be afraid; say that the [military] council must leave.”
On the one hand, social networks buzzed with jokes and criticism of the parliament with its majority of Islamists and on the other, many were proud that Egypt is seeing the first democratically elected parliament in 30 years and praised Egypt’s martyrs who were the main factor behind the first steps toward democracy.
Egypt Today polled people on their opinion of the first session of the People’s Assembly to be held since the January 25 Revolution. Edited excerpts:
“Parliament for the deceived, by the corrupt, attended by the opportunists.” — Hazem Amin, 26, demand planning section head
“Although I'm hesitant about the representation, this is a proud moment; for this would not have been accomplished without the youth of Egypt and our martyrs.” — Mennah Elsarrag, 21, human rights activist
“[It is a] circus. Perhaps it's their newfound freedom but new MPs trying to swear their own oaths adding whatever they want, the head of the Parliament hushing them down; it all looks a bit unprofessional. I guess it is all part of the learning curve.” — Tweep @baraka18 told Egypt Today.
“We've certainly got a long way to go still, and despite all the farcical [events], it's still a start; albeit a frustrating one.” — Mohamed Seif, 27, telecommunications engineer and a sports journalist
“I’m happy with this parliament. It’s the first time for me to feel that the members look respectful. Nobody is eating, sleeping or playing with their iPads or iPhones, as what used to happen in [former President Hosni] Mubarak’s days. It’s the first time that I would want to actually see the opening meeting as if I’m waiting for the world’s football championship.” — Mohamed Ayoub, 23, software engineer
“Despite the fact that I am very liberal, I am very proud of our new parliament.” —Nora Soliman, activist and economic development specialist.