Sunday,23 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1236, (5 - 11 March 2015)
Sunday,23 September, 2018
Issue 1236, (5 - 11 March 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt’s electoral lists

The forthcoming parliamentary elections should not be postponed, but there is a need to rectify practices seen in their run-up phase, writes Mohamed Salmawy

Al-Ahram Weekly

I am not for postponing the parliamentary elections, regardless of my opposition to some of the practices that have surrounded the preparatory phase. The elections are a constitutional necessity that must be carried out, and they have been delayed too long for reasons that are neither understandable nor justifiable.

As for the bad practices that we have seen after the nomination phase began, they can be avoided in future.

One reason for deferring the elections beyond the constitutionally stipulated time (within six months of the presidential elections) has been the new electoral constituencies law, which some people have challenged in order to postpone the holding of the elections.

If the government was responsible for the first delay because it was too slow in issuing the new electoral boundaries, the fault for the second delay resides with the political parties which have continued to wrangle in the hope of obtaining more advantages in the electoral law than the current list system provides, even though such advantages are out of proportion to the actual presence of those parties on the ground.

This is a futile political debate that was repeated at the time the party lists were formed, generating a farce that was not at all appropriate at this important juncture in the life of our country.

I hope that the parliamentary elections are not postponed beyond their already late date. At the same time, I recognise the need to address the practices we have seen in the run-up phase.

For example, members of the Salafist Al-Nour Party should not be using the pulpit for campaigning purposes, something which is illegal. Nor should certain government agencies intervene in the creation of electoral lists, even if the fault for this resides among those who are drawing up the lists as they have the power to reject such interventions.

I had hoped that the lists would express the new Egypt to which we aspire and that had become visible to us after the 25 January and 30 June revolutions. However, I fear that the light of this new Egypt is fading with the electoral lists that the political elites have shown us.

It appears that they want to ensure that the next parliament will be no different from those in the past. The names that appear on most of the lists are the self-same experts of the electoral game as it was played under all previous regimes.

The parties that were part of the former regime are once again trying to prevail in the political arena. I had imagined that the political arena would be very different after the revolutions.

I am still hoping that some group or party will take on board representatives of the youth who have found no place on the lists we have seen thus far, and to support them in the forthcoming elections. Only then will we have crossed the threshold into the new era that we aspire to.

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