Egypt Convenes Parliament for First Time Since 2012

  • Parliament likely to debate measures such as value-added tax
  • New body seen by critics as rubber-stamp legislature

Egypt’s parliament convened on Sunday for the first time in more than three years after a court disbanded a legislature dominated by Islamists, as authorities struggle to revive the nation’s economy and contain a surge in militant attacks.

The 596-member legislature is set to debate laws signed by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the former general who led the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi in 2013, and who controlled executive and legislative powers in the absence of parliament. Critics say the assembly will be largely a rubber-stamp legislature moving in lockstep with El-Sisi, who was overwhelmingly elected as president in 2014.

Among key laws that may be presented to parliament this year is value-added taxation proposed by the government. Loan agreements with global lenders such as the International Monetary Fund also need parliamentary approval.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which had fielded Mursi for office after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in 2011, didn’t run as a party in the parliamentary election after being outlawed by El-Sisi’s government.

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