From the Editors
Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary polls open Monday amid severe political divisions and street protests against the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and its embattled government.
The first stage of elections, which will last until 5 December, includes nine governorates: Cairo, Alexandria, Fayyum, Assiut, Luxor, the Red Sea, Port Said, Damietta and Kafr El-Sheikh. Of the 168 seats up for grabs in the first round, 56 will go to independents and 112 to candidates running on party lists.
Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) Chairman Abdel-Moez Ibrahim announced on 26 November that the opening round would be supervised by more than 4,500 judges mandated with overseeing polling stations countrywide.
“The SEC is opposed to any kind of international monitoring of the Egyptian elections,” clarified Ibrahim. “We informed the SCAF that this was against Egypt’s national sovereignty and could never be accepted, but if foreign monitors and media want to participate in supervising the voting process, let them do so without any constraints."
For his part, SCAF head Field-Marshal Hussein Tantawi stressed that “security and army forces have devised a plan for safeguarding polling stations against any violent act.” He went on to predict that that ordinary Egyptians “would play the greatest role in protecting polling stations and turning out in big numbers, because this is the only path to democratization and civilian rule.”
According to Ibrahim, more than 100,000 Egyptian expatriates living abroad had cast ballots in recent days, out of a total of 350,000 who had registered to vote at Egyptian embassies and consulates worldwide.
Although the SEC has not provided figures for the total number of candidates contesting the first round, unofficial estimates suggest that 2,362 independents and 193 party-based candidates would be fighting it out for the 168 seats.
Eligible voters in the first round account for some 35 per cent of the total number of Egypt’s registered voters, estimated at 50 million.
Cairo and Alexandria are expected to see the most fiercely contested electoral showdowns. Cairo is due to elect 54 MPs – 18 independents and 36 party-based – out of an estimated total of 1,539 candidates.
Alexandria, meanwhile, long viewed as an Islamist stronghold, will elect 24 MPs – eight independents and 16 party-based. In Egypt’s second city, 418 independents and 33 party-list candidates will compete for seats in the assembly.
Polls will also be hotly contested in the governorate of Port Said, where 103 independents and 13 party-list candidates – of almost all political stripes – will compete for available seats.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), along with Salafist parties and the older secular parties, all hope to secure seats in Cairo and Alexandria.
Electoral campaigning by Islamist forces, however, has been negatively affected by the recent flurry of protests against military rule in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The Islamists’ decision not to take part in the protests has reportedly cost them some credibility among certain segments of the voting public.
That leaders of Islamist and Salafist parties have issued fatwas instructing Muslims not to vote for liberal candidates – who they have denounced as “unbelievers” – has also reportedly adversely affected their electoral prospects. “There were numerous press reports that Islamist candidates had violated the law against using religious electoral slogans, but we never received any official complaint on this issue,” said the SEC’s Ibrahim.
He added that the current Tahrir Square protests had led Islamist forces, led by the Brotherhood’s FJP, to exert pressure on the SCAF to hold elections – which they are widely expected to sweep – on schedule and without delay.
Cairo’s various electoral districts will see many new faces competing for a place in the incoming parliament. The district that includes the south Cairo areas of Helwan and Maadi is the largest, with 132 independents and 130 party-based candidates competing for 12 seats (two for independents and ten for parties).
The most prominent independent candidates in this district include leftist journalist Mostafa Bakri and human rights activist Nasser Amin. Party-based lists, meanwhile, include Ziad Al-Eleimi, candidate for the liberal-oriented Egyptian Bloc; Akmal Qortam for the newly-licensed Conservative Party; and Al-Wafd Party’s Mahmoud Al-Sakka.
In the district that includes east Cairo’s Nasr City and Heliopolis, meanwhile, candidates include Asmaa Mahfouz, former member of the April 6 youth movement, and political analyst Amr Hamzawy, a founder of the liberal-oriented Egypt Freedom Party.
In Cairo’s Qasr Al-Nil district, which includes the flashpoint Tahrir Square, Gamila Ismail, ex-wife of opposition leader Ayman Nour, will stand as an independent. She is opposed by, among others, Al-Wafd Party member Nihal Ahdi, who is running on an independent ticket.
The battle for Qasr Al-Nil’s party-based seats will pit the FJP-led Democratic Alliance against the Egyptian Bloc, Al-Wafd Party and the Reform and Development Party, along with the Salafists and Nasserists. Democratic Alliance candidates include Al-Ahram political analyst Wahid Abdel-Meguid and former Brotherhood MP Gamal Hanafi. Their competitors, meanwhile, include Coptic tycoon Rami Lakah for the Reform and Development Party, and actress Tayseer Fahmi for the “Revolution Continues” alliance.
In North Cairo’s El-Sahel district, meanwhile, Al-Ahram analyst Emad Gad will run for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.
In Alexandria, the FJP is fielding a handful of prominent former MPs, such as Sobhi Saleh, Hamdi Hassan and Hussein Ibrahim. One of the most hotly-contested races, however, will be that between reformist judge Mahmoud Al-Khodeiri and construction magnate Tarek Talaat Mostafa, once a leading member of Mubarak’s now-defunct National Democratic Party.
Port Said, in which around 300 candidates will vie for only six seats, will also feature a number of prominent personalities. These include George Ishak, founder of the Kefaya pro-democracy movement; former MP Al-Badri Farghali of the leftist Al-Tagammu Party; and former Brotherhood MP Akram Al-Shaer for the FJP.
In Damietta, where twelve seats are up for grabs, the battle between former NDP deputies and new challengers is also expected to be fierce. FJP candidates in Damietta include former MPs Saber Abdel-Sadek and Mohamed Kosbah. Al-Wasat Party, meanwhile, is fielding its deputy chairman, Essam Sultan. Former NDP candidates for the district include Gamal Al-Zeiny and Omran Megahed.
In Kafr El-Sheikh, where 18 seats are being contested, stiff competition is expected between former MP Mohamed Abdel-Alim and Brotherhood candidates in the Fiwa district.
[Developed in partnership with Ahram Online].
From Jadaliyya Editors:
For more on Egypt Election Watch (EEW) entries by category, click on the following links:
(1) Parties and Movements
(2) Actors and Figures
(3) Laws and Processes
To view all entries on one page, click on Egypt Elections Watch, and for EEW team members click here. Our Egypt Page can always be accessed view here.
If you prefer, email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hot on Facebook
Jadalicious / جدلشس
"In a Libya ruled by a government who owes its existence to the US-NATO bombardment of 2011, the US enters Libya unlawfully to snatch a Libyan citizen... a pattern of disregard for international law and the sovereignty of other states, including its allies."click | email | tweet
Latest EntriesView All Entries »
- New Texts (NEWTON) Compilation by Category For Fall Semester
- One Century after World War I and the Balfour Declaration: Palestine and Palestine Studies
- Italian-Palestinian Relations: What Went Wrong?
- From Containment to Counterinsurgency in the Gaza Strip
- Sharing the Nile Waters According to Needs
- After The Ceasefire: Searching for Accountability
- Cities Media Roundup (August 1-30)
- Message From Human Rights Defender Maryam al-Khawaja
- Beard Phobia
- نفس الكتاب".. جرحٌ تعجز الكتابة عن لَأْمِه"
- On the Margins Roundup (August)
- Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam Dies
- An Open Letter
- New Texts Out Now: Erin Runions, The Babylon Complex: Theopolitical Fantasies of War, Sex, and Sovereignty
- Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (August 26)
- الخطر السياسي القادم ما بعد العدوان على غزة
- ملف من الأرشيف: محمد شكري
- Syria Media Roundup (August 15)
- Antisemitism and Salaita
- Israel's "Operation Status Quo": A Preliminary Assessment
Jad NavigationView Full Map, Topics, and Countries »
RT @ziadaburish: Great breakdown of stakes/logistics of #ADL recruiting student leaders via free trips to #Israel http://t.co/jzk0XUBygb @M…
yesterday at 12:23 PM
One Century after World War I and the Balfour Declaration: Palestine and Palestine Studies http://t.co/lQkOImFM5n
yesterday at 6:00 AM
Italian-Palestinian Relations: What Went Wrong? http://t.co/JDVel41GO0
yesterday at 6:00 AM
From Containment to Counterinsurgency in the Gaza Strip http://t.co/TGlhTqEOfF
yesterday at 6:00 AM
Cities Media Roundup (August 1-30) http://t.co/ISI8eIbCWz
yesterday at 10:39 AM