Wednesday,26 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1235, (26 February - 4 March 2015)
Wednesday,26 September, 2018
Issue 1235, (26 February - 4 March 2015)

Ahram Weekly

A war of coalitions

Eleven electoral coalitions will be competing in Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary polls, reports Gamal Essam El-Din

A war of coalitions
A war of coalitions
Al-Ahram Weekly

Higher Election Committee spokesman Omar Marawan announced on Sunday that 7,416 candidates had registered for next month’s parliamentary elections: 4,836 will compete for seats reserved for independents and 2,580 will stand on party lists. The successful applicants include 949 women.

The 2011-2012 elections, which also alowed a mix of independent and party list candidates, attracted 10,251 candidates, 4,200 of them standing on party tickets.

The 11 coalitions which Marawan says have successfully registered candidates will compete for 120 party-based seats. They will battle it out in four districts, two of which will return 45 candidates each, and the remaining two 15 MPs each. Below is a list of the expected main players.

For the Love of Egypt and the Egyptian Wafd coalition: The Egyptian Wafd and For the Love of Egypt coalitions said candidates had successfully registered on 20 and 21 February. The two groupings decided last week to merge candidates on a single list. The move was opposed by seven political parties which had joined the Egyptian Wafd. They have now withdrawn from the coalition.

The Egyptian Social Democratic Party accused the Wafd of joining a regime-backed coalition at the expense of the party’s liberal principles. “We decided to leave the Wafd coalition and join the Reawakening of Egypt election alliance led by revolutionary political activist Abdel-Gelil Mustafa,” said the party’s secretary-general Ahmed Fawzi.

The Wafd Party says that while hundreds of its members have registered as independents, 20 of its highest profile officials will be standing on the For the Love for Egypt list.

Wafd Chairman Al-Sayed Al-Badawi insists that “the party put national interests first when it decided to merge with the For the Love of Egypt coalition.”

“This is a critical time at which we should stand together against terrorism and place the national interest above partisan and personal considerations,” said Al-Badawi.

The For the Love of Egypt list has been coordinated by Sameh Seif Al-Yazal, a former intelligence officer and Chairman of the Gomhouria Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

Many For Love of Egypt candidates were originally associated with the so-called National list being prepared by Mubarak-era prime minister Kamal Al-Ganzouri.

“When Al-Ganzouri’s list came under attack from political ‎parties Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi ‎intervened,” says political analyst Gamal ‎Zahran. “There was a name change, from the ‎National to the For Love of Egypt list, and candidates too closely associated with the Mubarak years were quietly shunted aside.”

Al-Yazal confirms that the list will include 20 Wafdists: “Two ‎former Wafdist MPs, Mohamed Abdel-Alim and Tarek Sabaq, will be standing. Other Wafd lists ‎include Osama Heikal, the former information minister ‎who is Chairman of the Media ‎Production City and former minister of ‎sports Taher Abu Zeid. Chairman ‎of the Conservative Party, the oil tycoon Akmal Qortam, and Fiddya Salem, a leading ‎member of the Reform and Development Party ‎and former Shura Council MP, are also standing on the coalition ticket.”‎

They are joined by former foreign ‎minister Mohamed Al-Orabi, former chairman of ‎the Free Egyptians Party Ahmed Said, political writer Lamees Gaber, ‎Tamarod coordinator Mahmoud Badr, former April 6 spokesperson ‎Tarek Al-Khouli, editor-in-chief of the weekly Al-Osbou Mustafa Bakri, and Al-Ghad Party Chairman Moussa Mustafa Moussa.

The list, adds Al-Yazal, also includes leading businessmen‎ Wagih Abaza, Mohamed Al-‎Seweidi, Mohamed Farag‎ Amer and Abdel-Hakim Al-Sadat. ‎Al-Ahram political analyst Emad Gad, a member of the Free ‎Egyptians Party, heads the list’s Coptic contingent.
Many political analysts believe the For Love of ‎Egypt list enjoys the backing of Al-Sisi and his government‎.‎

The Egyptian Front coalition: Egyptian Front Spokesman ‎Kadri Abu Hussein told Al-Ahram Weekly that 90 per ‎cent of its allied independent candidates, and all candidates standing on its list, have ‎successfully registered.

The coalition is closely associated with the toppled Mubarak regime. Its ‎candidates include Ahmed Zaki Badr, a former education ‎minister; Amr Ezzat Salama, former higher education ‎minister; Ayman Abu Hadid, former minister of agriculture; Kadri Abu Hussein, former governor of Helwan and Yehia Kadri, chairman of the Egyptian ‎National Movement, the political party founded ‎by Mubarak-era prime minister and 2012 ‎presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik.‎

In many governorates the Front will be represented by onetime members of Mubarak’s now dissolved National ‎Democratic Party.‎

The Egyptian Front views the 25 January Revolution as a conspiracy led by Washington.

Al-Nour party: The Salafist Al-Nour Party says candidates seeking to stand in the four party-based constituencies successfully registered ‎on 18 and 19 February. The party’s 349 candidates are standing in independent and party-based seats. The list includes former deputy speaker of parliament Ashraf Thabet; former MP Talaat Marzouk, deputy chairmen of the party Mohamed Ibrahim Mansour, and Bassam Al-Zarka and party spokesman Nader Bakkar.The party says its list includes “several female candidates and one Copt.”

The Independence Current coalition: Fourteen minor political parties comprise the Independence Current, led by lawyer Ahmed Al-Fadalli. The coalition will contest all four party-based constituencies. Among its best known candidates are former deputy prime minister Yehia Al-Gammal; former health minister Helmi Al-Hadidi; chairman of the Arab Nasserist party Ahmed Hassan; former Muslim Brotherhood member Kamal Al-Helbawi and actors Tayseer Fahmi and Ahmed Maher.

The Reawakening of Egypt: The list prepared by political activist Abdel-Gelil Mustafa includes ‎candidates affiliated with liberal and leftist ‎revolutionary forces.‎The coalition supports the goals of the revolutions of the 25 January and 30 June and is strongly opposed to the return to political life of figures associated with the Mubarak regime.

The Free Egyptians party: The Free Egyptians Party, founded in 2011 by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, won 14 seats in the 2011-2012 elections.Party spokesman Wagih Shehab says 200 of its members will stand as independent candidates while 12 leading officials will compete as part of the For the Love of Egypt list.

Topping the list of the party’s candidates are Free Egyptian Party Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Alaili; former football player Zakaria Nassef; singer Mustafa Kamel; and onetime firebrand MP Mohamed Abu Hamed. Many former members of the National Democratic Party will contest independent seats for the party.

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