Islamist set to be Egypt's new parliament speaker
CAIRO (Reuters) - Leading Egyptian political parties will back a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) for the assembly's speaker, with another Islamist group and a liberal party taking the deputy posts, an FJP official said on Monday.
The prime task of the new parliament, the first elected since an uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power last year, will be to pick a 100-strong assembly to write a new constitution.
Liberals fear that sweeping gains by Islamists in elections will put faith-based parties in the driving seat and lead to more religious strictures.
Islamists insist they want an inclusive government and a constitution that represents all Egyptians.
"No political stream or popular group will be eliminated from this political process," said Emad Abdel Ghaffour, head of the Islamist al-Nour party. "The proportional weight of these parties and their competencies will be taken into consideration."
The FJP, which secured the biggest bloc in the parliamentary election, is proposing its Secretary-General Mohamed al-Katatni for speaker, its head Mohamed Morsi said after meeting other key parties.
"The parties meeting today have agreed to respect the popular will that formed the parliament and was expressed in the vote results," Morsi told reporters. "The party with the proportional majority would field a candidate for the parliament speaker post."
Under the agreement between parties which included liberal and Islamists groups, the two deputy speaker posts would go to the Nour party, runners up in the vote, and the party with the next biggest number of votes.
FJP is projected to secure 232 seats, or 46 percent, while the more hardline Nour party, which advocates the strict application of Islamic law, has 113 seats, or 23 percent.
Two liberal groupings, the Wafd Party and the Egyptian Bloc, are projected to come in third and fourth, but the full results of the staggered election that began in November have yet to be announced because votes in some areas are going to be run again.
Wafd, which trailed Islamists in the vote, wasn't part of the deal but said it will decide its position on Thursday.
"We weren't informed of anything and weren't part of any talks," said Wafd's secretary general Foad Badrawy. "The issue will be discussed on Thursday and we will decide."
The Egyptian bloc is an alliance of three liberal and leftist groups.
Members of parliament will choose the speaker and his two deputies when they gather for the first time on January 23.
(Reporting by Tamim Elyan; Writing by Edmund Blair and Sherine El Madany)
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