Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1263, (17 - 30 September 2015)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1263, (17 - 30 September 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Battle over seats

Around 6,000 candidates apply to stand in the parliamentary polls scheduled for October and November, Gamal Essam El-Din reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

The window for parliamentary candidate registration closed as scheduled at 2pm on 12 September. The Higher Election Committee (HEC) announced that 899 candidates had registered on the final day, bringing the total number to 5,936.

Candidates have been granted an additional three days, until 7pm on 15 September, to submit obligatory medical check-up reports.

HEC spokesperson Omar Marawan has announced that an initial list of candidates will be announced Wednesday. Unsuccessful applicants will be able to appeal their exclusion between 16 and 18 September.

The HEC has said it will rule on appeals by 27 September and successful candidates who subsequently change their minds and want to withdraw from the election must do so by 30 September.

“Given this timetable a final list of candidates standing in the first stage of the polls will be made public on 1 October,” said Marawan.

The first round of Egypt’s long-delayed parliamentary elections will be held between 17 and 28 October in 14 governorates: Al-Giza, Al-Fayoum, Beni Sweif, Al-Minya, Assuit, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, the New Valley, the Red Sea, Al-Beheira, Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh. The campaign will run from 4 to 15 October.

The HEC says the registration process ran smoothly despite candidates complaining of the costly and cumbersome process of medical check-ups.

“The original registration deadline of 12 September was maintained in all but two districts in the upper Egypt governorate of Qena,” says Marawan.

The HEC extended registration by three days in the election districts of Qena and Qous following a 7 September court ruling demanding the boundaries of the two constituencies be redrawn to achieve greater representative equality.

A majority of the 5,936 candidates who registered by the end of 12 September are seeking to run as independents. Egypt’s next parliament will comprise 596 MPs, 448 elected as independents, 120 from party lists and the remaining 28 appointed by the president..

Marawan says 12 party lists had been submitted containing the names of party affiliated candidates who will contest 120 seats across four mega constituencies — Cairo, South and Middle Delta (45 seats); Upper Egypt (45 seats); the East Delta (15 seats) and the West Delta (15 seats).

Most political parties announced they had submitted their lists of candidates before the deadline of 12 September.

The For the Love of Egypt electoral coalition’s coordinator Sameh Seif Al-Yazal says it submitted four lists of candidates including 120 hopefuls. It is the only coalition contesting all four constituencies reserved for competition between party-based candidates.

On Sunday Emad Gad, For the Love of Egypt’s spokesman, said the coalition would be standing unopposed in the East Delta constituency. While the coalition says the 15 east Delta seats are already in the bag Marawan points out that “being the only candidate in a particular district is not enough to be declared the winner” since “candidates, whether independent or on party lists, must secure a minimum of five per cent of the total votes in any given district”.

The For the Love of Egypt coalition, which is widely believed to be supported by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, includes high-profile candidates from a number of political parties on its lists.

In a press conference on Saturday Al-Sayed Al-Badawi, the chairman of the Wafd Party, said a total of 273 Wafdists would be contesting the elections.

“Nine will run as candidates on For the Love of Egypt coalition lists and the remaining 264 will stand as independents. They include 14 Copts, 17 women and 22 candidates below the age of 35.”

Marawan reports that three party lists applied to stand in Cairo: the For the Love of Egypt, the Nour Party, and the Egyptian Front and Independent Current coalition.

In Upper Egypt three lists applied: Nidaa Masr (Call of Egypt), the National Awakening coalition and the For the Love of Egypt.

Five lists will be battling for the 15 West Delta seats: For the Love of Egypt, the Nour Party, Forsan Masr (Knights of Egypt), the Call of Egypt and the Egyptian Front and Independent Current coalition.

The Salafist Nour party, the only Islamist force contesting the polls, will also field candidates in half of the constituencies reserved for independents.

Nour Party official Shaaban Abdel-Alim told Al-Ahram Weekly that “the party opted to limit the number of candidates standing as both independents and on party-based lists as a gesture of goodwill, to show we want to act in partnership with other political groups and are not seeking to monopolise the next parliament.”

The Nour Party is facing attempts from the No to Religious Parties campaign to have it disbanded. The campaign, led by the Tamarod movement, says its aim is to implement Article 74 of the 2014 Constitution which bans political parties formed on religious grounds.

Campaign spokesperson Doaa Khalifa said on Monday that the campaign was gaining momentum. “We are close to collecting one million signatures from ordinary citizens and the Cairo Administrative Court has already requested the Political Parties Committee review the legal status of eleven political parties based on religious grounds.”

The final day of registration saw a number of high-profile figures applying to stand as independents. They include the flamboyant Chairman of Zamalek Sporting Club Mortada Mansour who is seeking to stand in the Daqahliya governorate district of Meit Ghamr. Mansour’s son, Ahmed, has put himself forward as a candidate in Dokki.

Zakaria Nassef, a former Ahly Club football player, has applied to run in the south Cairo district of Maadi. Al-Ahram political analyst Amr Al-Chobaki has registered as an independent candidate in Dokki.

Ahmed Ezz, the former right-hand of former president Hosni Mubarak’s son  Gamal, tried to run in Menoufiya but his application was rejected by the Supreme Administrative Court. Sama Al-Masri, actress and an owner of a TV channel, has submitted papers to stand as an independent in Cairo’s Azbakiya district.

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