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Majlis Shura al-Nuwwab


Egypt's first quasi-representative assembly.

Established in 1866 by a decree from Khedive Ismaʿil of Egypt, the majlis was intended to be a consultative council that would advise him on administrative matters. But he may have been driven by his growing financial straits to co-opt the landowning notables to raise taxes. Its seventy-five members, barred from government posts while they held office, were elected for three-year terms. Timid at first, they grew more assertive as they gained experience and often passed resolutions for administrative reforms. Nevertheless, they met for only three months at a time and were not even convened in 1872, 1874, and 1875.

While its role was subordinated to the other deliberative bodies, the Privy Council and the Council of Justice, which were smaller and made up of powerful government officials, the majlis emerged as one of the standard-bearers of Egyptian nationalism in the era of the Urabi revolution. In part, this happened because the Egyptian landowners were, along with the peasants, victims of Ismaʿil's mismanagement and the financial stringencies adopted by Khedive Tawfiq and the Dual Control.

see also dual control; ismaʿil ibn ibrahim; urabi, ahmad.


Hunter, F. Robert. Egypt under the Khedives, 18051879. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1984.

Landau, Jacob M. Parliaments and Parties in Egypt. New York: Praeger, 1954.

Schölch, Alexander. Egypt for the Egyptians! London: Ithaca Press, for the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, Oxford, 1981.

arthur goldschmidt

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