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'Next Egyptian parliament will lack political nature': Leftist party head

Head of the Socialist Popular Alliance believes the new parliament will be formed in favour of the rich

Ahram Online, Wednesday 12 Nov 2014
Egypt
Egypt's Socialist Popular Alliance Party head Abdel Ghafar Shukr (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's next parliament will have no political nature, head of a prominent leftist political party said Wednesday, as the government puts the final the touches on the constituency electoral law.

The parliament is the third and last step in the country's political roadmap set forth after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last year. Elections have been delayed several times with the latest official statements saying they will take place before March 2015.

In an interview with Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website published on Wednesday, head of Socialist Popular Alliance party, Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr, voiced his objection to the elections law, which he says paves the way for dominance to the rich who will work for their benefits and not the people's.

"The formulation will be in the favour of the rich, whatever their political affiliation was they will work for their benefits," Shoukr said. "We will have a council compliant with the executive authorities if not dominated by it."

The parliamentary elections law, passed in June by the outgoing interim president Adly Mansour stipulated more than 70 percent of the seats to individuals while the rest would be for political parties.

The law was criticised by numerous parties who fear it will recreate the same political environment which allowed Hosni Mubarak’s now-dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP) to manipulate all political power.

The vote is pending, however, a law redrawing the country's electoral constituencies.

"The current elections law…marginalises political life and highlights the individualistic traits of the MPs," Shoukr said.

A court ruling in May 2014 banned members the now-defunct NDP from running in parliamentary, presidential as well as local unit elections.

Fears have been growing, however, as Mubarak-era politicians begin to resurge into political life.

"The development of the society and its ability to bring about the forces that could work in their benefit is a long-term goal and does not happen overnight," Shoukr said. "We will keep witnessing negative phenomena in the elected councils for a while."

The repeated delays of the parliamentary elections, the issuance of contested laws governing rights of assembly, as well as the arrest and trial of many 2011 icons has alarmed many politicians and commentators.

Shoukr said the current government is successful in the sense that it manages each ministry's business but lacks a clear political vision.

"If the parliamentary elections are held soon, the permanent government will be required to offer a clear political vision and then we can judge the government from a political point of view," Shoukr said.

Most political parties have yet to announce their plans to form coalitions or target for seats in the coming parliament.

"The development of the people and the achievement of democracy does not happen over night but is an issue that needs time, mobilisation and organisation, not to mention that Egypt does not have any mature political parties," Shoukr said.

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