Article — From the October 2012 issue

The People’s Assembly

How Egypt lost its parliament

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Egypt’s domed parliament building, with its white colonnaded façade, sticks out from the gray prefabricated concrete of downtown Cairo as if it had been air-dropped in from seventeenth-century Paris. Last winter, the country’s first freely elected parliament in six decades convened there. The 508 members of the People’s Assembly accepted their seats during a half-day ceremony in which they swore to protect a constitution that had yet to be written. The day after they took their oath in January, I visited the building. As I approached the front entrance, I passed through a sliding metal gate surrounded by barbed wire …

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is a writer based in Cairo.

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