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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Egypt prepares for parliamentary polls; final legislation expected next week

As a new law aimed at redrawing electoral districts ‎is expected before 10 November, a Higher Election ‎Commission has taken new measures slated to pave the ‎way for Egypt's parliamentary polls

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 3 Nov 2014
A view of the Egyptian parliament in 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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The Higher Election Committee (HEC) – a seven-‎member judicial body mandated with supervising ‎Egypt's parliamentary polls – took new ‎measures Monday aimed at paving the way for the long-‎awaited polls.‎

After a meeting led by chairperson of Cairo's appeals ‎court, Ayman Abbas, sources within the HEC said that it ‎has finalised the guidelines which will be adopted by ‎‎affiliated judicial mini-committees formed to ‎represent it in each of Egypt's 27 governorates.‎

HEC's spokesperson Medhat Idris indicated that ‎each mini-committee will be headed by chairperson of ‎the governorate's lower court and include ‎judges from the appeal and administrative courts ‎and the State Cases and the Administrative ‎Prosecution Authorities.

"These committees will ‎receive registration applications from hopeful ‎candidates, review voter lists and supervise polling ‎stations," said Idris.‎

In terms of supervision, chairperson of each mini-‎committee will be required to head to the ‎headquarters of their local court one day in advance of ‎the voting date to take hold of the ballot tickets.

"On ‎voting day, the chief judge will take charge of ‎transporting boxes of the ballot tickets from the ‎court to the polling station in the early morning to make sure that the station is ‎completely ready before the voting begins," said ‎Idris.‎

Elaborating on the above, the HEC sources stressed that chairpersonn of each mini-committee must make ‎sure that adequate police or army forces are ‎available to safeguard the polling station, that assistant ‎personnel are present, the lists of eligible voters are ‎provided and that the number of the ballot tickets ‎are equal to the number of eligible voters. ‎

HEC sources on Monday also indicated that judges ‎in charge of mini-committees must instruct security ‎forces that campaigning outside the polling stations ‎is banned and that voters must be heavily inspected ‎to ensure that weapons will not find their way into ‎polling stations.‎

The HEC sources said female guards will be also ‎available to help inspect women wearing Niqab – or ‎full-face cover – and make sure that they hold their ‎identity cards.

"In general, each voter must show ‎his/her identity card or travel passport and ‎puts his/her thumb in red ink as a sign that ‎he/she has already voted and will not be ‎allowed to vote again," said HEC sources.‎

Idris said handicapped citizens, including blind ‎voters, could ask the chairperson of their mini-committee to ‎vote on their behalf or be accompanied by them in the voting booth.‎

HEC's meeting on Monday is the second in two ‎weeks. In a statement last week, HEC said it has ‎already reviewed voter lists and asked citizens to ‎log-on to HEC's website to check that their names ‎and voting centres are correct.‎

The HEC meeting comes after Prime Minister Ibrahim ‎Mahlab vowed last week that the long-awaited ‎electoral districts law, the last obstacle before ‎parliamentary polls can be held, will be issued by a ‎technical committee on 10 November – or Monday ‎next week.‎

Before leaving for Geneva on Sunday to attend ‎a periodic review of Egypt's human rights record by ‎the UN Human Rights Council, ‎parliamentary affairs minister Ibrahim El-Heneidy told ‎ reporters that the draft of the ‎electoral districts law was almost complete.

"The ‎technical committee in charge of finalising this law is ‎currently just focused on making sure that the new ‎legislation is in line with the constitution, ‎which requires that boundaries are redrawn in a way ‎that strikes a balance between the area and ‎population of constituencies," said El-Heneidy, adding ‎that "this, however, does not mean that all ‎constituencies must be strictly equal in number of ‎population and size."

"It will be almost impossible to ‎achieve this kind of strict equality but there will be ‎slight differences in number of population and size in a ‎way that does not impact equality," said El-Heneidy.‎

El-Heneidy also assured that the technical committee ‎gives special focus to border governorates, ‎especially North Sinai where a three-month state of ‎emergency and a 10-hour curfew have been imposed.‎

‎"The committee will take the new situation there into ‎consideration while resorting to merging some ‎border districts with scant population into larger ‎districts." ‎

El-Heneidy also explained that once finalised, the law ‎would be a subject of a national dialogue among ‎political forces for two or three weeks.‎

El-Heneidy's statement means that HEC will not ‎be able to set a timetable for parliamentary polls ‎before early December. This also means that the ‎first stage of parliamentary polls will most likely be ‎held in early January 2015 – as Mahlab promised.‎

Parliamentary polls are expected to be held over ‎three stages, with each including nine governorates.‎

Each stage takes at least two weeks to be ‎completed. It could take longer if security threats ‎cause a problem. In any case, a three-stage ‎parliamentary election in Egypt usually takes two and a half ‎months to three months to be ‎completed. Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, chairman of the liberal ‎Reform and Development party, told Ahram ‎Online that if Mahlab and El-Heneidy made good on ‎their word, Egypt would see a new parliament ‎convene next March or April.

"But if the government ‎and HEC insist on moving at the current snail ‎pace, Egypt would see a new parliament only in May ‎or even June next year," said Sadat.‎

Egypt's last parliamentary polls – held between 12 ‎October, 2011 and 22 January, 2012 – took almost ‎three and a half months to be completed.‎

Mahlab asked three weeks ago that a seven-‎member technical committee be formed to finalise ‎the controversial electoral districts law amid ‎speculation among political forces over whether ‎parliamentary polls will be held later this year or ‎postponed to next year. Mahlab was cited by MENA ‎on 31 October as emphasising that the finalisation of ‎the electoral districts law on 10 November will ‎automatically allow HEC to meet and devise a ‎timeline for the upcoming parliamentary poll as soon ‎as possible.‎

MENA cited Mahlab as saying that he is in almost daily contact with the law-drafting committee.

"The ‎committee has come a long way in finalising this law ‎while I am under instructions from President Abdel-‎Fattah El-Sisi that parliamentary polls must be held ‎as soon as possible," said Mahlab.‎

Mahlab also told journalist Mostafa Bakri in a ‎television interview on 31 October that El-Sisi ‎rejected several calls for delaying the polls or postponing them to late next year.

"Some cited ‎security and technical reasons but president El-Sisi ‎rejected them all," said Mahlab.‎

Mahlab admitted that the drafting of the electoral ‎districts law took a lot of time, a fact which led to ‎delaying the election procedures which were ‎expected to begin last month. "We want to make ‎sure that this law goes in line with the new ‎constitution and that once held, parliamentary polls ‎will not face any legal or constitutional setbacks," ‎said Mahlab.‎

Mahlab, however, expects that the first stage for ‎parliamentary polls begins early next year.

 "The first stage of these polls must begin early ‎next year or before a donors conference will be held ‎next February to help Egypt's economy," said ‎Mahlab, arguing that "we want to send a message ‎to the world before this conference that Egypt shows ‎no hesitance from completing its political roadmap ‎which was adopted in July 2013 – or after ‎former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ‎ousted from office.‎

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04-11-2014 08:13am
Ha haaaaaaaaaaa Election
Sisi loyalists gona win by 100% not only 100%: but 299% good free and fair Election come on sisi Al baradie will help you by west dollos dont worry .haaaaaaaaaa
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