The Ministry of Health designated two hospitals in Cairo to begin medical examinations Saturday for parliamentary candidates who will officially start applying at the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) on 8 February.
Candidates who wish to run for Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections are required to undergo medical examination in accordance with the decision of the State Council on 20 January.
According to the report summarising the reasons behind the decision to medically test candidates, published by state-owned media Al-Ahram, the move aims at ensuring future parliamentary members are “physically and mentally” fit, and the medical test most cited in the media was the drug test.
Meanwhile, objections have arisen with regards to the costs of medical tests, which are estimated at 6,000 EGP per candidate. According to the independent National Centre for Research and Consulting (NCRC) in parliamentary affairs, the Ministry of Health “imposed” fees on candidates, which were never originally stated by the SEC.
“A large sector of eligible candidates can lose opportunities to enter the parliament due to expensive additional costs they have to bear,” said NCRC’s president Ramy Mohsen, adding that medical fees were exaggerated.
Some of the younger candidates, such as Mahmoud Afify the spokesperson for the National Cooperation Current (Tayyar Al-Sharaka Al-Wataneya) also told Al-Ahram on Friday that the fees will incapacitate many young members, in comparison to older and richer candidates who can easily afford them, demanding from the SEC to consider exempting the youth from those fees to facilitate the process of their application.
“Add to that 3,000 EGP for the application insurance for each candidate, another 1,000 EGP if they have to start a bank account to receive supporting funds, and at least 40,000 EGP as a minimum for a decent electoral campaign,” Mohamed Saad, an independent candidate who intends to run in Alexandria, told Daily News Egypt Saturday.
Saad denounced that no government institution even suggested assisting some of the youth in their twenties, asking “how a 25-year-old candidate is supposed to have all that money”.
Parliamentary elections will be held over two phases divided between all governorates, with Cairo expected to be in the second phase. Elections will start with Egyptian expats on 21 March and will continue through April.