As expected.

Saad al-Katatni, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and the current speaker of the Islamist-dominated parliament was chosen as the head of the constituent assembly, during its first session.

The panel, which is made up of more than 60 percent Islamists, has been at the centre of a dispute with the country’s secular forces who fear their calls for a civil state will be muffled.

Katatni’s appointment comes after liberal, leftist and independent parties and figures angrily withdrew from the committee, accusing Islamists of monopolising the process.

Only 74 of the 100-member panel attended the first session, with 71 voting for Katatni, the official MENA news agency reported.

The Obama administration is full speed ahead with its plan to send $1.3 billion in aid to the newly Islamist state.