What does Egypt's parliament look like?

The first meeting of the People's Assembly, Egypt's lower chamber of parliament, since elections in which Islamist parties won most of the seats, was held on Monday. Click the labels to find out more about the parliament.

Clickable image of the Egyptian parliment

Gold sashes

The gold sashes say "No to military trials for civilians" and were worn as a sign of protest by liberals in the parliament. There have reportedly been 12,000 such prosecutions since the ruling military council took over from Mubarak early last year.

Religious scholars

The red hats with white sashes are typically worn by religious scholars and religious elected officials who graduate from al-Azhar University, one of Sunni Islam's oldest and most revered institutions of learning and worship. The headwraps red caps are similar to those worn by Muslim clerics. Many graduates of Al-Azhar wore them while marching in Tahrir Square.


White keffiyehs, the traditional Arab headdresses worn without a band, are often associated with ultraconservative Islamists, known as Salafists. They call for a return to the political and moral practice of the first Muslims, in particular the "righteous ancestors" known as "al-Salaf al-Salih" in Arabic. Many Salafists grow long, full beards and wear traditional dress, seeking to emulate the Prophet Muhammad. Those assembly members seen wearing keffiyehs with a band may be representing Bedouin tribes from the Sinai Peninsula.

The speaker

Mohammed Saad al-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected as the speaker of the new parliament by a large majority. He leads the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which is the largest party in the assembly with 235 seats. However, sitting in the speaker's seat during the inaugural session was Mahmoud al-Saqqa, the oldest member of parliament at 81, who briefly served as the interim speaker until the new speaker was chosen.

The seal

The seal showing the Eagle of Saladin is still in place, having first appeared as the state symbol of Egypt after the revolution of 1952. It went through several iterations before taking its current form, including the substitution of a flag for the original shield and the addition of the official name of the country - The Arab Republic of Egypt - in Arabic on a scroll.

Women in parliament

Female candidates secured around 1% of the 508 seats in the new assembly. Under Mubarak quotas ensured that at least 64 seats were reserved for women, but these were eliminated by the ruling military council partly on suspicion that Mubarak had given those seats as a reward to supporters. Instead, the new government required parties to include one woman on their electoral lists, but many appeared too far down on party lists to be serious contenders for a seat.

Click on a party below to find out more

Clickable image Egyptian Parliament


Around 6,000 candidates, and more than 40 political parties, attempted to secure a seat in the People's Assembly, during elections that took place over a period of three months.

Islamist parties won 73% of the seats, with the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party having the most representatives.

The new parliament has legislative powers, and will draft a new constitution, but the military council retains presidential powers until the new president is elected in June.

Freedom and Justice Party

The Muslim Brotherhood established the Freedom and Justice Party. The party is headed by Mohammed Morsi, and 40% of its members are from the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to its website, the party supports "a civil state" in which Islamic law would be the source of legislation covering all aspects of life.

Read a full profile of the party


Al-Nour (Light) is a Salafist party headed by Emad Abdul Ghafour. It espouses a stricter form of Islam than the Brotherhood and includes Salafists who were active in some cities in Egypt during the Mubarak era, especially Alexandria, where they provided religious and social services.

The party calls for Islamic law to be the guiding principle for all political, social and economic issues.

Read a full profile of the party

New Wafd Party

Al-Wafd gained legal status in 1978 and is headed by al-Sayyid al-Badawi, a rich businessman.

It is a liberal party that emerged from the old Wafd party, which played an important role during the 1923-1952 period. It has branches all over the 27 governorates in Egypt.

Read a full profile of the party

Egyptian Bloc

The Egyptian Bloc is a coalition created in opposition to both the Islamist Alliance and the Democratic Alliance. It follows liberal and secular policies and believes in establishing a civil state along Western lines.


A splinter of the Muslim Brotherhood, the al-Wasat party (Centre) says it wants equal citizenship rights for all Egyptians.

Reform and Development Party

The Reform and Development Party is a liberal political party founded by Anwar Essmat Sadat, a nephew of the former president Anwar Sadat, and Raymond Lakah, an Egyptian billionaire.

Revolution Continues

The Revolution Continues is a left-of-centre coalition formed by youth activists behind the uprising that ousted Mr Mubarak. It was created after a conflict inside the broader Egyptian Bloc.

The coalition aims to achieve all the key demands made by protesters during the overthrow of the previous regime.


There are several other parties sharing 18 seats between them and 26 Independents who are not affiliated to a party. There are also an additional 10 seats which are not directly elected but instead are appointed by president and military council.

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