Egypt - Reuters - January 23, 2012
Newly elected speaker of the Egyptian parliament Mohamed Saad al-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, January 23, 2012. Photo by Reuters
Text size

A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Saad al-Katatni, was elected as Egypt's parliament speaker on Monday, in the first session of the newly-elected assembly.

Al-Katatni, who received 399 votes out of 498 cast, is a member of the brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, which won the largest number of seats - 47 percent - in recent elections.

Earlier this month, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns met Mohamed Morsi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), in Washington's highest level outreach to the Islamist group as part of a series of meetings with Egyptian political figures in Cairo.

Nuland said Burns did not meet hardline Salafists, which have also logged strong showings in early rounds of voting and espouse an even more conservative view of Islam that some have compared to Afghanistan's Taliban.

Elections for the less powerful Shura Council, or upper house of parliament, are to be held in two stages, with voting taking place between January 29 and February 22.