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Egypt’s political parties split over new parliamentary laws - Daily News Egypt
Daily News Egypt

Egypt’s political parties split over new parliamentary laws - Daily News Egypt

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Egypt’s political parties split over new parliamentary laws

Worries mount over representation in upcoming elections, some politicians believe Islamists will be excluded


Members of the dissolved People’s Assembly decided to suspend their sit-in. (DNE / FILE PHOTO / Hassan Ibrahim)
Egypt’s political parties split over new parliamentary laws
(DNE / FILE PHOTO / Hassan Ibrahim)

Following the finalisation of the draft law regulating Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections, political parties told Daily News Egypt they are concerned over how legitimate the vote’s outcome will be.
On Monday, the Electoral Districts Committee confirmed that the law has been prepared for cabinet approval this week, ready for elections in early 2015. The number of districts has been set at 231, with Cairo governorate having the most districts and Aswan the fewest.
To win a parliamentary seat a candidate will need 131,000 votes, with regulations stating that 77 districts will vote on one seat, 119 on two seats, and 35 on three seats. The seats will also be split according to the type of representative standing, with the vast majority reserved for independent candidates.
However, Hossam El-Kholy, member of the Supreme Committee of the Wafd Party, told Daily News Egypt his party has been concerned with the new electoral rules from the beginning, not simply the new district map. El-Kholy, who endorsed President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the presidential election, feels that the new set-up will undermine the party, “with so many seats reserved for individuals, it will stop a strong movement of political parties”.
According to Article 3 of the house law, Egypt’s upcoming parliament will be comprised of 567 seats. Within that figure 420 (73%) will be reserved for independents, 120 (22%) will be for party-affiliated candidates, and the remaining 27 seats (5%) will be awarded to individuals appointed by the president.

 

El-Kholy said he expects parliament debates will become parochial following the election, limited to local issues of a representative’s constituencies rather than wider and more fundamental issues.

With parties unable to develop into complex organisations, the bigger issues will be left to the executive (the President) and so parliament will become easier to control, argued El-Kholy.

He said: “In every democracy in the world parties are the most important political agents in the system, but this law will dilute them.”

However, El-Kholy said that, whilst the party is against the new rules, Wafd candidates will still participate in the election.

Echoing Al-Kholy, Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr, chairman of the leftist Socialist Popular Alliance party, said the new rules will lead to the re-emergence of Mubarak-era figures.

“When you reserve two-thirds of seats to independents, this does a lot of harm to new political parties and helps the old Mubarak regime remnants, especially the wealthy businessmen, to dominate parliament again,” Shukr told Ahram Online.

However, the potentially stifling impact on collective movements are viewed positively by some parties. In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Alaa Essam, the Tagammu party’s legal attorney, said the best thing about the new rules is they will control the Islamist movement, whilst the role of alliances will keep parties strong.

“The Egyptian Front Coalition, among other alliances, are excluding Islamist parties from running with us,” said Essam, who worked on the legal case to have the Muslim Brotherhood organisation banned and its capital confiscated.

“The new law is not the best, but it’s relatively good – good enough for a democratic process”, Essam said. The Coalition will join an electoral alliance formed by Mubarak-era minister and current economic consultant to the Egyptian presidency Kamal El-Ganzouri.

Also running are two other coalitions associated with the Mubarak regime, and strong supporters of Al-Sisi’s government, the Tayar El-Istiqlal (Independence Current) and the Ma’an Tahya Masr Coalition.

Meanwhile, other parties have a fiercely critical view of how legitimate the outcome of the election will be, and for the moderate-Islamist Al-Wasat party the new laws are just a distraction. General Secretary Mohammed Abdel Aziz told Daily News Egypt: “The law is simply for the benefit of the coup. At the moment we are more concerned with working towards real democracy and freedom, fighting for political prisoners and human rights abuses. So we are not concerned with [the changes to the electoral districts] law.”

The party recently separated from the pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance to work towards creating a new “inclusive alliance” to resist the current government and work with revolutionary groups. Abdel Aziz confirmed that the party will not be participating in the upcoming elections.

President Al-Sisi has said that the upcoming parliamentary elections will take place before the end of March 2015. The elections are the third pillar of the transitional roadmap declared by the interim government following president Morsi’s ouster in July 2013. But with players already heavily polarised before long before the election, hopes for a cohesive or even coherent political landscape look dim.

 

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6 responses to “Egypt’s political parties split over new parliamentary laws

  1. Isn’t the act of declaring one’s self “islamist” an act of rejecting all other peoples’ legitimacy in favor of a self entitled authority over them? It seems a functioning system should require all those who cannot play well with others seek psychiatric help instead of war against the population as a whole. The promotion of conservative Islamic values isn’t being curtailed. Theocracy aka bigotry hidden within a shroud of religious abuse is an open wound that provides entry to dangerously destructive infections of a society by agents like isis or their partner in doomsday ideology hizmet. Simply rejecting theocracy for its flawed conception would both insulate society from these threats and make legitimate all conservative religious parties.

    1. You call yourself intellectualist ….. for the last 60 years Egypt has been ruled by an autocratic military regime and its military industrial complex and their security apparatus which the egyptian are fed up with as the generals have shown to be bad politicians economists jurists policy and decision makers ! The generals don’t want to lose their privileges power and positions which the egyptian people had to pay dearly for as they live in a poor and failed state !

      But you still managed to make it about islam muslims islamists theocracy and everything your mind is high on !

      1. Overlooking everything else you said, don’t you think military rule is better than an Islamist theocracy like that of ISIL? If not, then please, direct yourself to the nearest police station and inform them of your sick thoughts

        1. The governmental vision of a party like the Dostour party is superior to military terrorism. If the government can’t fulfill the population’s demands, it will eventually have to allow itself to be voted out. Gerrymandering and rigging elections won’t cut it.

        2. what i think is irrelevant !

          people like you disgust me as they only seek the continuation of their own sick and twisted interests and ideas while a whole nation of 90 million people is bleeding and hurting for decades at the hands of military autocrats. Egyptians are smart enough to not believe in the bullshit choice there are given by so called western and arab financial benefactors who seek the continuation of their own autocratic rule and status quo in their foreign policies.

          Keep believing or keep making it about choosing between autocratic generals or so called religious Isis fanatics which is the main bµllsh!t argument they use to spread fear but it won’t bring you no definitive results only constant conflict. The people are maybe poor but they are not dumb, they don’t believe the hype, the propaganda, the news media and every channel elitists use to manipulate the people ! To threaten your own people with violence and sectarianism if they demand changes, civilian rule and end of military rule is weak and counterproductive.

          Egyptians want to have a strong army that concentrates its work and effort into protecting and guarding its territory, borders and security but want an end to the decades long military monopoly on political,economical,financial,governmental and social power and influence such things are the sole privilege of the people of Egypt and not some men in military outfits ! To create such a large military regime with such a large security apparatus, such a large military industrial complex and such a large corruption which undermines any chances for a developing country and a people to develop and prosper and afterwards threatening it with violence and sectarianism if the people demand changes is a crime against humanity.

          It’s only matter of time before the military will eventually understand that what they were doing is undermining their people and country for the benefit of their pockets! they will not and can’t control their youths they created and who are now demanding the end of their rule. Egyptians are not behind this military regime or behind Isis, they want to come together and create and lay the foundation for every Egyptian to live and prosper which is always a difficult and hard thing to realize but they are up to it. only matter of time

          while you defend those who seek authoritarianism, i will defend those who seek civilian rule !

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