Early Australia exit heaps pressure on embattled FFA    IOC begins conference to decide on 2026 Olympics host    Houthis hit Saudi airport, killing one, wounding 21: Saudi-led coalition    Take focus off Mahrez if Algeria are to prove successful, says coach    U.S., China should make compromises in trade talks: vice commerce minister    Google to reopen its office in Egypt: Lino Cattaruzzi    Turkey's opposition strikes blow to President Erdogan with Istanbul mayoral election    Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia as US prods Iran for talks    Sisi praises Egyptian fans' behaviour during 2019 AFCON opener    Oil climbs as Middle East tensions simmer    European markets to open lower as Middle East tensions linger    Asian stocks trade mixed; oil rises as U.S.-Iran tensions continue to linger    Egypt calls for speeding up talks on Ethiopia's GERD dam    Egypt slams Human Rights Watch director's tweets on Morsi's    Egypt dazzles us with a breath taking AFCON 2019 opening    Egypt makes winning start to Africa Cup of Nations    Mourning a dog can be harder than losing a relative or friend    Egypt says to launch hepatitis C medical examination initiative in Africa    China needs around $440 bln to clean up rural environment – People's Daily    Egypt trying to halt Tutankhamun statue sale in London    20 million drug tablets smuggling foiled in Damietta    UK trade envoy visits Cairo to discuss cooperation opportunities    Egypt, Eurasian Economic Union can sign free trade zone agreement in 2020: Russian minister    Art Alert: Little Eagles to screen at KMT    Egypt to take greater social protection measures to help poor, middle income classes: Minister    New academic year to start 21 Sept: Egypt's Supreme Council of Universities    Any conflict in region could spread: Iran general    INTERVIEW: Investigating terrorism funded by Qatar and Turkey    Art Alert: Mediterranean music band Estabena at Room New Cairo    In Photos: Egyptian Museum in Tahrir inaugurates new path for the visually impaired    Playing victim    Morsi dies    A painless commute    United against corruption    Africa welcomed home    Food on Facebook    Beef olives with an Oriental twist    Tanker war puts pressure on Iran    Losing is not an option    Promoting football tourism    Al-Sisi in Eastern Europe    Singer Nesma Mahgoub at Cairo Opera House Summer Festival    Mervat Shazly showing at Salama art gallery    The mummies go to the NMEC    Muslim Brotherhood: Playing victim    Egypt FM spokesman condemns OHCHR statement on Morsi's death for 'lack of integrity and objectivity'    Egypt's State Information Service slams Human Rights Watch director's tweets on Morsi's death    Saudi Arabia celebrates Eid al-Fitr with 13 Arab artists    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Bracing for tough competition
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 11 - 11 - 2015

The second stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections, to be held between 21 November and 2 December and covering 13 governorates, is expected to be fierce in Cairo and seven densely populated Nile Delta governorates.
Omar Marawan, spokesman for the Higher Election Committee (HEC), in charge of supervising the polls, told a press conference on 5 November that the first stage covered 14 governorates and included 27.4 million registered voters.
“But the second stage, which covers only 13 governorates, will include some 28.2 million registered voters — or almost one million more than the first stage,” Marawan said.
Marawan told reporters, “Although most of the governorates in the second stage are densely populated, please do not expect long queues at the polling stations. The reason is that the number of auxiliary polling stations in these governorates has increased by 3,000, or from 9,834 in the 2012 poll to 12,946 in this year's ballot.”
He said that as many as 222 seats will be up for grabs among 2,847 independent candidates in the second stage, and added, “This number could decrease or increase before voting day.”
Marawan said as many as 60 seats are at stake among party-based candidates in the second stage: the 45-seat Cairo, South and Middle and North Delta constituency, and the 15-seat East Delta constituency.
The electoral coalition For the Love of Egypt has almost won the 15-seat Nile East Delta constituency (including the governorates of Sharqiya, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North and South Sinai): it is the only party list that successfully registered there. It has to secure five per cent of the vote in the constituency to be officially declared the winner.
In Cairo, the South, Middle and North Nile Delta constituencies (including the governorates of Cairo, Qalioubiya, Daqahliyya, Menoufiya, Gharbiya and Kafr Al-Sheikh), the competition will be tough as four party lists are competing for the 45 seats reserved in the province.
The For the Love of Egypt coalition, widely believed to be loyal to Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, is eager to win the second stage's 60 party-list seats after winning the 60 seats allocated to the first stage.
While For the Love of Egypt coalition, including 13 political parties, is sure to win the 15-seat East Delta constituency, it will face a hard battle in the 45-seat Cairo and Nile Delta constituency against three rival party lists: the Independence Current and National Movement Party alliance, Republican Alliance of Social Forces, and ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party, the only Islamist force contesting the polls.
The For Love of Egypt list of candidates in Cairo and the Nile Delta includes a number of high-profile figures, including Sameh Seif Al-Yazal, the coalition's coordinator and former intelligence officer; Osama Heikal, chairman of the Egyptian Media Production City (EMPC) and a former information minister; Kamal Amer, a former army intelligence chief; Taher Abu Zeid, a former sports minister; Ahmed Said, a former MP and chairman of the Free Egyptians Party; Tarek Al-Khouli, a former spokesman for the revolutionary 6 April activist movement; Mahmoud Badr, founder of the Tamarod (Rebel) movement; and Margaret Azaer, a former Wafdist MP.
Mustafa Bakri, a journalist who won a seat in the first stage, told parliamentary reporters on 7 November, “If the coalition won all the 120 seats reserved to party lists, it would be able to form a majority bloc of civilian forces supportive of President Al-Sisi in the upcoming parliament.”
Bakri indicated that not only did For the Love of Egypt win the first stage's 60 party-list seats, but independent candidates affiliated with political parties forming part of the coalition were also able to win around 120 seats.
For the Love of Egypt has come under fire in recent days from Tahani Al-Gibali, a former judge and coordinator of the rival Republican Alliance of Social Forces. Al-Gibali warned in a public statement last week that it would be “a big setback if For the Love of Egypt won all the 120 party list seats.”
Said Al-Gibali, “Our alliance is against the return of Hosni Mubarak regime remnants and Muslim Brotherhood activists to political life.” She said that the list of the For the Love of Egypt coalition's candidates in the second stage include as many as 38 who were affiliated with Mubarak's now-defunct ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and claimed they are currently spending “a lot of political money” to buy votes.
“This is a bad development for Egypt's political life and we all should stand united to counter this trend,” Al-Gibali said.
Al-Gibali, widely known as the “Iron Lady”, stressed that the Republican Alliance stands against Mubarak's NDP and Islamist forces alike, or what she called “the merchants of politics and religion.”
The list of the Republican Alliance's party-based candidates include Al-Gibali; Hossam Kheirallah, a former deputy chairman of Egypt's intelligence and a 2012 presidential candidate; journalist Hossam Hazem; Egyptian TV host and producer Atef Kamel; and former governor of the Central Bank of Egypt and a former MP Fayeka Al-Rifaei.
“The list includes 29 female candidates, nine young candidates and others representing farmers and workers,” Al-Gibali said.
The alliance Independence Current and the Egyptian Front, including 40 political parties, is primarily affiliated with Mubarak's NDP. It is largely composed of Misr Baladi (Egypt My Homeland), a political party founded by Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, and the National Movement Party, founded by Qadri Abu Hussein, a former Mubarak-era provincial governor.
Independent candidates affiliated with the two Mubarak-era parties won only three seats in the first stage.
Abu Hussein told Al-Ahram Weekly, “HEC did a lot of damage and injustice to the alliance in the first stage as it allowed it to run in the Upper Egypt constituency only after the court ordered it to do so.
“As a result, our list did not have enough campaign time, but we have high hopes to win the 45-seat Cairo and Delta constituency because most of our candidates are former MPs who have wide-scale popularity and experience.”
Like Al-Gibali, Abu Hussein said it was “very bad” that one electoral coalition wins all the party-list seats. “The party-list MPs should be affiliated with different political parties so that we can have a diverse and balanced parliament,” said Abu Hussein.
The alliance's list includes such public figures as Ahmed Al-Fadalli, chairman of the Democratic Peace Party; Nagi Al-Shehabi, chairman of the Generation Party; Samir Zaher, a former head of the Egyptian Football Association; journalist Mahmoud Maarouf, and former Sinai MPs Galila Awad and Sanaa Gilbana.
The Salafist Nour Party, which suffered a stunning defeat in the first stage, is trying its best in the second stage to compensate for the loss. Al-Nour, which won only eight seats in the first stage, is not only competing to win the 45-seat Cairo and Nile Delta constituency, but it also has 73 candidates running as independents.
Salah Abdel-Maaboud, a leading Nour official, told the Weekly that the party will have ten independent candidates running as independents in Cairo. “In terms of party lists, we have high hopes that millions of voters in the rural Nile Delta will be in favour of Al-Nour,” said Abdel-Maaboud.
Topping the list of Al-Nour candidates in the second stage are the party's deputy chairman, Bassam Al-Zarqa; Mohamed Azab, a former Nour MP; Al-Sayed Khalifa, ex-Nour MP; and Abdel-Halim Al-Gammal, a former MP.
Al-Nour's battle in the second stage, however, will not be an easy task. The “No to Religious Parties” campaign said it will step up moves aimed at discouraging citizens from voting for Al-Nour.
The campaign said it will hold a press conference on Wednesday to alert citizens to the danger of voting for Al-Nour. The campaign accused Al-Nour of fielding former Muslim Brotherhood officials on its lists.

Clic here to read the story from its source.