Egypt's Socialist Alliance Party launches electoral programme

Menna Alaa El-Din , Wednesday 7 Oct 2015

Six candidates will represent the SPAP in the upcoming parliamentary elections, with nine others running as independents

Egypt’s Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) announced Wednesday the features of their electoral programme for the upcoming elections set to take place in October and November.

“The party’s electoral programme relies on the social and democracy goals represented by the January 25 Revolution and its extension in June 30,” Medhat El-Zahed, acting chairman of the SPAP, said in a press conference.

In the press conference, the party discussed several issues while introducing its programme, including freedoms, education, health spending, fighting corruption, and culture and unemployment.

The party also announced that they are against calls for amendments to the 2014 Constitution.

There has been a rumbling push by supporters of the state in the Arabic language media for a constitutional amendment to strengthen the president's positions, citing challenges the president faces and the need for total parliamentary support.

“We are only with the revision of laws to eventually conform with the current constitution,” El-Zahed said.

According to the 2014 Constitution, the parliament is given the power to revise all laws enacted since the ouster, in 2013, of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi – where it can revise, reject, or ratify them.

Six candidates representing the SPAP are currently running for individual based seats, contrary to an earlier press statement that said 15 candidates are running.

According to the party, nine candidates chose to run independently.

The party said that they were offered joining the "For the Love of Egypt" coalition; a group widely believed to be supported by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, though El-Sisi has denied that he supports any electoral bloc.

They renewed their support for the state’s efforts in fighting terrorism, yet said that fighting terrorism shouldn’t be used as an excuse to restrict freedoms.

The party acknowledged the limits of its electoral prospects. “We know we won’t be the majority that actually forms the government, but we’ll still be a loud voice inside the house, a voice that acts as an opposition,” the SPAP candidate in Boulaq El-Dakroor neighbourhood, Abdel Aziz Khedwy, said.

According to Article 146 of the 2014 Constitution, while the president has the right to appoint a prime minister, parliament must approve any new cabinet through a vote of confidence on its proposed programme.

If such a government does not win the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives within 30 days, the president shall appoint a prime minister who is nominated by the party or the coalition that holds the majority or the highest number of seats in the House of Representatives.

Several groups, including some members from the SPAP themselves, have called many times over for the upcoming elections to be boycotted.

“We are participating while we acknowledge that this is fierce competition. Our participation comes to fight against the return of the old faces of Mubarak and political Islam,” El-Zahed said.

The decision to participate in the upcoming elections comes as the result of a vote during a meeting of the party’s central committee in August.

The party had announced in February that it would not participate in the upcoming elections, in protest at the killing of member Shaimaa El-Sabagh, who was shot dead by a police officer at a peaceful march a month earlier.

The first phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections will start on 17-18 October for Egyptians abroad and 18-19 October for voters inside Egypt, while the second phase of the elections would start on 21-22 November for Egyptians abroad and 22-23 November for Egyptians inside Egypt respectively. 

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