Egypt's National Elections Authority (NEA) is scheduled to release Monday a final list of candidates standing in legislative elections later this month.
NEA head Lasheen Ibrahim said final candidates who might opt to leave the race at the last moment can do so Tuesday and Wednesday. "On Thursday, 8 October, the final list of candidates will be published in two widely-circulated newspapers," said Ibrahim.
The final list of parliamentary candidates will be announced Monday after courts finish settling elections appeals. Semi-official figures show that Administrative Judicial Courts in 27 provincial governorates have received 158 election appeals since 28 September. Some candidates took their appeals to the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo to receive final rulings on Sunday.
One of the appeals, filed by a lawyer, asked that NEA decree (52/2020) issued on 10 September inviting citizens to elect a new parliament in a two-stage poll between October and December violates Article 106 the Egyptian Constitution, which stipulates that procedures for electing a new House of Representatives shall be invoked only during the 60 days preceding the end of the tenure of the previous house.
"And as we all know that the tenure of the current house will end 9 January 2021, so election procedures should begin in November and not September," said the appeal, which was rejected by the Supreme Administrative Court on the grounds that it was not filed on time. "As a result, the election shall be held on time," said the court.
Another appeal, filed by head of the Reform and Development Party and former MP Mohamed Anwar Essmat El-Sadat, also asked that the elections be cancelled. The appeal was rejected by the Judicial Administrative Court, but Sadat decided to take it to the Supreme Administrative Court, hoping to get a final ruling in his favour.
Other appeals were filed by candidates who were rejected on various grounds, such as not performing military service or having dual nationality.
Some political coalitions that wanted to run for party list seats also lodged appeals. Tarek El-Mahdi, a former governor of Alexandria and founder of the so-called "Egyptian National Current," said his coalition's bid to run in the four party list districts was rejected by the NEA on flimsy grounds.
El-Madhi said he has high hopes that his appeal would be accepted and that his coalition would be allowed to join the election battle. "The election should be competitive and so it is important that several coalitions from different political grounds join the race," said El-Mahdi.
The NEA said in a statement that the Egyptian National Current bid was rejected because some of the coalition's candidates did not submit necessary financial statements.
The NEA's head said the authority will release the final list of parliamentary candidates once it receives final rulings issued by the Supreme Administrative Court. "We will receive the final rulings on Sunday, and so we will be able to announce the final list of parliamentary candidates on Monday, as scheduled," said Ibrahim.
Ibrahim announced 28 September that the papers of 4,006 individual candidates and eight coalition lists had been accepted and that, pending appeals, a final list will announced 5 October.
Meanwhile, campaigning for the first stage of the election will also kick off Monday. "Campaigning will begin once we announce the final list of candidates on Monday, and it will run until 18 October, or just three days before voting takes place on 21 October (for expatriate Egyptians) and 24 October (for Egyptians at home).
The first stage will include 14 governorates: Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, El-Minya, Assuit, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira and Matruh. The competition will be for 142 individual seats.
The first stage will also include two party list districts: Western Delta (42 seats), and North, Middle and South Upper Egypt (100 seats).
The NEA said an individual candidate can't spend more than LE500,000 on campaigning and in case of a re-run, the amount will be reduced to LE200,000.
It said a 100-seat party list can't spend more than LE10.6 million and in case of a run-off the amount will not exceed LE6.6 million. A 42-seat party list can spend LE7 million only, and in case of a run-off can spend LE2.8 million.
The NEA said campaign donations should come from Egyptians only and that a donation shall not exceed five percent of the maximum ceiling of spending on election campaigning.
The NEA added that candidates are not allowed to use slogans that discriminate on religious or racial grounds, or use public sector institutions or means of transport, or mosques or churches, to serve their electoral campaigns.