Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1271, (19-25 November 2015)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1271, (19-25 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Candidates go head to head

The second stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections begins on Saturday. Gamal Essam El-Din identifies the constituencies expected to see the closest fought battles

Al-Ahram Weekly

The second stage of Egypt’s parliamentary poll, covering 13 governorates and to be held between 21 November and 2 December, begins on Saturday for overseas voters and on Sunday for residents.

The Higher Election Committee (HEC) says 28.2 million voters — a million more than the first stage — are eligible to cast ballots. Many analysts, however, expect a low turnout. Official figures showed 27 per cent of registered voters went to the polls in the first stage. Few expect that figure to increase in the second round.

Al-Ahram political analyst Wahid Abdel-Meguid says there is unlikely to be an improvement in the level of voter participation.

“The election fatigue that led many voters to stay away from the polls in the first stage applies equally to the second,” said Abdel-Meguid. He does, however, think there is a chance that strong family ties in densely populated Delta cities could mobilise some voters.

HEC spokesperson Omar Marwan told reporters not to expect long queues in front of polling stations.

“The number of auxiliary polling stations has grown by 3,000. There were 9,834 in the last parliamentary poll compared to 12,946 now,” said Marwan.

The second stage sees 282 seats up for competition, 60 for candidates on party lists and 222 for independents.

A total of 180 party-based candidates will be competing for the 45 seats in the Cairo, South and Middle and North Delta constituency, and the 15 seats in the East Delta constituency.

The 222 independent seats will be decided after 2,847 candidates battle it out in 102 constituencies. The participating governorates are allocated seats as follows: Cairo 49, Qalioubiya 25, Daqahliya 29, Menoufiya 20, Gharbiya 24, Kafr Al-Sheikh 16, Sharqiya 30, Damietta seven, Port Said four, Ismailia six, Suez four, North Sinai five and South Sinai three.

In Cairo, which has 6.5 million registered voters, 819 independent candidates are competing for the capital’s 49 seats. Cairo includes seven constituencies returning a single MP; ten constituencies returning two; six that will return three and one constituency that returns four MPs.

The Free Egyptians Party, Future of Homeland and Wafd Party are all hoping to build on the parliamentary presence they secured in the first round. The Free Egyptians Party has 12 affiliated independent candidates in the capital, Future of Homeland party has 15 and Wafd 17. The Salafist Nour Party is fielding ten candidates as independents in Cairo.

Officials from former president Hosni Mubarak’s defunct ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) have also joined the race.

In South Cairo’s affluent constituency of Al-Maadi and Tora, 23 candidates are competing for a single seat. They include Hafez Abu Siida, chairman of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EHOR), who is standing as an independent affiliated with the Conservatives Party; Zakaria Nassef, a former football player with Al-Ahli Sporting Club; and Hussein Megawer, one-time official of the NDP and former chairman of the General Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (GEFTU).

In Nasr City, 51 candidates are competing for three seats. They include Mohamed Al-Sallab and Suzanne Fawzi Al-Sayed, two business tycoons; Samir Ghattas, chairman of the Middle East Forum for Strategic Studies; Ihab Al-Kharrat, the son of novelist Edwar Al-Kharrat, a former Shura Council deputy who is a member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party; Bassel Adel, a former MP and Sahar Othman, deputy chairwoman of GEFTU and a member of the Wafd Party.

In South Cairo’s densely populated Helwan, a largely working-class community with 650,000 registered voters, 57 candidates are competing to fill four seats. They include GEFTU Deputy Chairman Magdi Al-Badawi and Mubarak-era MPs Khalifa Hassaenin and Ismail Nasreddin.

The Delta governorate of Qalioubiya’s 2.6 million registered voters can choose between 281 candidates competing to fill 25 seats across ten constituencies. In Qalioubiya’s capital, Benha, 22 candidates are fighting over two seats. Topping the list are Gamal Al-Arabi, a former minister of education, and Mostafa Kamal Al-Din Hussein, the son of one of Nasser’s vice presidents.

In Kafr Shukr, the revolutionary candidate and film director Khaled Youssef faces 11 rivals from different political backgrounds.

The most-watched battle in the governorate of Menoufiya, birthplace of former presidents Anwar Al-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak and home to 2.2 million voters, is expected to be the constituency of Al-Bagour where Moataz, the son of Kamal Al-Shazli, a leading NDP official who served under the Sadat and Mubarak regimes, is running against 11 candidates, including the Nour Party’s Hani Mohamed Farag.

Daqahliyya’s 3.6 million registered voters have a choice between 333 candidates competing for 29 seats in 11 constituencies. Among the 44 candidates battling over the four seats in the Meit Ghamr constituency are Mortada Mansour, the controversial head of Zamalek Club; Osama Al-Sheikh, a former chairman of the Radio and Television Union and currently head of Al-Nahar TV channels; businessman Mohamed Al-Morshdi and former police officers Hamdi Al-Badawi and Usama Radi.

In Tanta, the capital of Al-Gharbiya governorate, 39 candidates are fighting over three seats. They include businessmen Yasser Al-Guindi, Mohamed Orabi and Kamal Abu Ouf; media figures such as Nile News TV presenter Galal Awara; former MPs Amal Abul-Yazid and Abdel-Moneim Al-Ouleimi, and Saeed Taima, a former police officer.

In the governorate of Kafr Al-Sheikh, 1.8 million registered voters can select from between 193 candidates struggling for one of 16 seats spread across eight constituencies.

In Fiwa constituency, 21 candidates are competing to fill two seats. They include Mohamed Abdel-Alim, the Wafd Party member who served as speaker in the short-lived 2012 parliament, and Youssef Al-Badri, a Nour Party official.

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