Concerns over district representation in coming elections

Menna Zaki
4 Min Read
The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) postponed Wednesday its final verdict regarding lawsuits claiming the unconstitutionality of the parliamentary elections law to Sunday (AFP Photo)
The first stage of the first phase was rescheduled to take place on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 April, while the run-off stage will take place on 29 and 30 April. (AFP\Photo)
The Electoral Districts Committee is still considering making changes to the final draft of the law that will regulate Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
(AFP Photo)

The Electoral Districts Committee is still considering making changes to the final draft of the law that will regulate Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

The final draft is “hopefully going to be presented by next Wednesday to the cabinet”, a source within the Electoral Districts Committee told Daily News Egypt.

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, noted that the committee has yet to decide on how to manage district representation. One option before the committee is to divide the country into 246 districts, and then distribute the 420 seats that are reserved for individual candidates among them. Alternatively, the country could be divided into 420 districts, with one seat per district allocated to individual candidates.

The elections law passed by interim president Adly Mansour in June states that the House of Representatives will be comprised of 567 seats, of which 27 are to be appointed by the president. Of the remaining 540 seats, 420 that are reserved for candidates running as individuals and 120 allocated to party lists.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb then assigned the Electoral Districts Committee to draft a law to allocate election districts. The committee is headed by Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim Al-Heneidi.

The proposals on how to divide the individual seats across different districts have raised concerns about the underrepresentation of some districts.

Wafd party spokeswoman Nashwa Al-Sherif however expressed concerns that, if the number of districts is fewer, some districts might be “less represented in the parliament” – giving an example of Sinai, where people have long been complaining of the little representation of their issues in the Parliament.

Al-Sherif stressed, however, that there are “no doubts over the constitutionality of the coming parliament”.

Daily News Egypt’s source within the committee noted that if the committee does decide to divide the state into 246 districts it would be because dividing the state into 420 districts “would require more time to organise”.

The source claimed that the allegations of unconstitutionality are “completely groundless”, as all the Egyptian governorates will be represented in the upcoming elections. He also emphasised that the committee is working “with the outmost regard for the constitution”.

Al-Nour party member Salah Abdel Maaboud argued that a greater number of districts would result in better popular representation in parliament, but that in any case the constitutionality of the new parliament will not be in question.

According to cabinet spokesman Hossam Al-Qawishi, the Electoral District committee presented last week the basic principles of the districts law but some details still need to be worked out.

The parliamentary elections are expected to take place before the end of March 2015, as announced by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

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