Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1141, 28 March - 3 April 2013
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1141, 28 March - 3 April 2013

Ahram Weekly

Falling down

Initial results of elections in the Pharmacists Syndicate show an obvious drop in the popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood, reports Ahmed Morsy

Al-Ahram Weekly

For the first time in decades the Muslim Brotherhood lost the majority of seats to secular political forces in mid-term Pharmacists Syndicate elections held over the weekend.

Preliminary results showed that out of the 12 seats being contested, the electoral list of the Coalition of Egyptian Pharmacists, under which most of the candidates are MB, won just two seats. The Professional Pharmacists list, representing candidates belonging to civil forces, managed to secure 10 seats. Hence, results indicate a drop in MB superiority in terms of syndicate electoral victories in recent years.

Mid-term elections are held every two years for 12 of the 24 seats of the Pharmacists Syndicate board. Forty-two candidates competed for the 12 seats. Six seats are allocated to the general board and six for regional representatives. The elections, held on 22 March, were contested by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Egyptian Pharmacists Coalition, the Professional Pharmacists Coalition and the Independent Pharmacists List, which failed to get a single seat.

The polls were held under full judicial supervision and monitored by civil society organisations.

The Professional Pharmacists Coalition is composed of members of various liberal parties, including the Free Egyptians, the Dostour and the Egyptian Social Democratic parties, so as to wrest control of the syndicate from Brotherhood members.

The results are not final. The official results are to be announced in a general assembly to be held tomorrow (Friday) at the Pharmacists Syndicate headquarters.

“We all joined the Professional Pharmacists List in a joint attempt to serve pharmacists nationwide,” said Ahmed Ebeid, one of the victorious candidates who ran under the list.

Ebeid attributed the decline of the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity to what he described as their “stagnant ideology” in managing the Pharmacists Syndicate. “Most of the syndicate board members who were re-elected in 2011 were on the board since 1992,” said Ebeid.

Ebeid won a seat on the syndicate’s general board in the elections, representing pharmacists who have been in the profession for less than 15 years, alongside Haitham Abdel-Aziz and Ashraf Mekkawi. The three board members belong to the Professional Pharmacists List.

Three other members of the Professional Pharmacists who won seats on the general board, representing pharmacists who have been in the profession for more than 15 years, are Mohamed Seoud, Gamil Baktar and Ahmed Farouk.

Moreover, the Professional Pharmacists also won four of the six seats representing nationwide regions. Hossam Harira won as representative of the West Delta region, Ahmed Abu Doma was elected representative of the southern Upper Egypt region, Noureddin Wagih became the representative of the northern Upper Egypt region and Marwa Khalil was picked as representative of the Cairo and Giza regions.

From the rival MB list, Mohamed Ramadan was chosen a representative of the Mid-Delta region and Sherif Abdel-Aal a representative of the East Delta region.

Ramadan denied having any affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood. He also denied that the Coalition of Egyptian Pharmacists belongs to the MB. “Our only sense of belonging is to our profession; pharmacy,” he said.

Initial indications say that the percentage of voter turnout among members was estimated at a very low 12 per cent. As for the statistics, 10,688 out of the 84,000 eligible voters cast ballots in the election, according to Pharmacists Syndicate Undersecretary Seifallah Imam.

Imam attributed the low turnout to adverse weather conditions, ongoing protests on the streets and a sandstorm that hit Cairo on Friday.

Ebeid blamed the low turnout on the media blackout regarding the date of the elections and the pharmacists’ withdrawal from the elections due to the domination of a single Muslim Brotherhood faction on the syndicate board. Ramadan stated that pharmacists’ laziness could be the reason for the low turnout, coupled with the possible failure of communication between pharmacists.

The chairman is elected every four years. The current boss, Mohamed Abdel-Gawad, was elected in 2011.

The poor Brotherhood performance comes only days after its members lost a sizable percentage of seats in student union elections in Egyptian universities. In these contests, too, the Brotherhood lost to electoral lists affiliated to liberal and leftist parties. The student union elections saw most votes going to independents with no political affiliation.

Press Syndicate elections held two weeks ago had no MB candidates winning any of the six council seats, highlighting the fact that MB’s popularity is on the decline.

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