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Opposition parties criticise draft parliamentary law

The Constitution Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Karama Party, the Popular Current and the Freedom Egypt Party slam draft law as undemocratic

Ahram Online, Saturday 24 May 2014
parliamentary elections
Woman votes in the last parliamentary elections in Egypt (Photo:Reuters)
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A number of Egyptian political parties have criticised a draft parliamentary law released last week by the cabinet.

The Constitution Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Karama Party, the Popular Current and the Freedom Egypt Party in a statement released Saturday criticised the new draft parliamentary law as "a disaster for democratic transition."

"[The draft] is radically opposed to the aim of the popular forces that came out on 25 January and 30 June for a democratic transition," said the statement, adding that the demand of the political parties and groups expressed in meetings and official memos was to have electoral lists.

Several liberal and leftist parties and activists had asked President Adly Mansour to ensure that the new law be based entirely on open party lists, which they argued would offer more representational justice than the polls in 2011-2012.

In the statement, the parties complain that the new draft law instead dictates that 80 percent of seats will instead be chosen through the individual candidacy system, in which a single candidate runs alone and not as part of a list.

This, according to the statement, is very costly, wastes the votes of those who did not select the winner, and reduces the role of political parties.

Supporters of the electoral list have frequently argued that list voting ensures that votes are accrued on the basis of a political platform rather than on individuals themselves, reducing the role of tribal and family links or on a candidate’s ability to persuade voters via favours.

The statement further slammed the draft law for making the electoral lists, by which the remaining 20 percent of seats will be chosen, an “absolute electoral list”. Under this system, voters will select one option from the different list groupings, and the list that obtains more than 50 percent of the vote will win all the list seats available in that constituency. The parties support a proportional list system in which list seats are allocated to list groupings based on the proportion of votes won.

The undersigned described the absolute electoral list as undemocratic.

The parties also criticised the new draft law for increasing the total number of parliament seats to 630 seats instead of 506 in the last elections, saying it would make it harder for MPs to discuss draft laws.

The last parliamentary two thirds of seats were allocated to electoral lists and one third to individual candidates.

 

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