Thursday,14 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1274, (10 - 16 December 2015)
Thursday,14 December, 2017
Issue 1274, (10 - 16 December 2015)

Ahram Weekly

House rules

A parliamentary bloc comprising 400 MPs is being formed to support President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, reports Gamal Essam El-Din

House rules
House rules
Al-Ahram Weekly

The For the Love of Egypt electoral coalition, which won all 120 seats reserved for party-list candidates, is negotiating with MPs who won seats as independents to form a pro-Sisi parliamentary majority.

“The bloc will act as a back-up force for President Al-Sisi and act to reinforce Egypt’s political stability,” said For the Love of Egypt coordinator Sameh Seif Al-Yazal.

Al-Yazal told reporters on Sunday that the pro-Sisi majority will likely comprise more than 400 MPs. He insisted that it will not turn the House of Representatives into a rubber-stamp parliament.

As he said, “We fully intend to exercise our supervisory powers to defend the interests of ordinary citizens and help improve the performance of the government.”

Al-Yazal also said it is too early to consider changing the 2014 constitution, which “needs to be put into effect for at least two years before we can determine whether or not it needs amending.” He was speaking after the Higher Election Committee (HEC) announced the results of the parliamentary elections.

On 4 December, HEC chairman Ayman Abbas told reporters that 555 candidates had been elected during the two-stage poll. They will be joined by a further 13 candidates from the four constituencies where reruns have been ordered, bringing the total number of elected MPs to 568. The remaining 28 seats in the House of Representatives will be filled by presidential appointees.

Election turnout was 28.3 per cent. “Out of 53,786,762 eligible voters, 15,206,010 cast ballots in both stages,” said Abbas. The highest turnout — 41.6 per cent — was in the governorate of North Sinai and the lowest — 18.1 per cent — was in Suez.

Three political parties — the Free Egyptians Party, Future of Homeland, and Wafd Party — won the lion’s share of seats. The Free Egyptians Party, founded by Coptic business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, won 65 seats, followed by Future of Homeland, led by Mohamed Badran, with 50 seats, and the Wafd Party, led by businessman Al-Sayed Al-Badawi, with 32 seats. A further 13 liberal political parties won 73 seats (or 12 per cent) between them.

Islamist and leftist political parties were among the elections’ biggest losers. The Nour Party, the only Islamist force contesting the poll, won just 11 seats. Four leftist political parties — Tagammu, Arab Nasserist party, Popular Socialist Current, and Egyptian Social Democratic Party — fared even worse, securing eight seats between them.

Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS) has published a statistical breakdown of the results. Women won 73 seats (12 per cent) and Copts 36 seats (6 per cent), notes the ACPSS study. Media figures won 11 seats while former police and army officers won 50, and physically challenged candidates won eight seats.

Many candidates associated with former president Hosni Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) failed to win seats in the second stage of the poll. They include Hussein Megawer, former head of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU); businessmen Talaat Al-Qawwas, Abdel-Mohsen Abul-Kheir and Ahmed Shiha; lawyer Mostafa Hammouda; former NDP officials Sherine Fouad Abdel-Aziz and Haidar Boghdadi, and former economy minister Mostafa Al-Saidl.

Other high-profile losers are journalist Fatma Naout, former head of the Television and Radio Union and chairman of the private Al-Nahar TV channels Osama Al-Sheikh and Effat Al-Sadat, the nephew of late president Anwar Al-Sadat.

“While many businessmen did win seats, a considerable number failed, suggesting that political money was not always enough to secure election,” said Ahmed Nagi Qamha, chairman of ACPSS’s Parliamentary Forum Unit.

Qamha expects that many businessmen who did win seats will now be looking to join the parliamentary committees responsible for business and economic affairs.

On Monday, Mohamed Zaki Al-Sewedy, an electric cables tycoon who won a seat in Sharqiya governorate, told reporters that he plans to nominate himself to head the industry committee.

Mortada Mansour, the flamboyant chairman of the Zamalek Club, and Tawfik Okasha, owner of the pro-Sisi TV channel Al-Faraeen, were the independent candidates who garnered the most votes, winning 82,568 and 94,354 respectively. Both have indicated that they intend to stand for the post of speaker.

The ACPSS study identifies 50 candidates once affiliated with Mubarak’s NDP who did win seats. “I think the former NDP MPs who won as independents will join liberal MPs to form a parliamentary majority,” said Qamha.

Next week, Al-Sisi is expected to appoint 28 public figures to the House of Representatives. Article 102 of the constitution allows the president to appoint up to five per cent of the total number of parliamentary deputies.

The candidates are likely to be figures who have performed outstandingly in their professions. Constitutionally, half of the appointees must be women.

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