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Egypt's elections timetable unchanged, parties rebuke electoral law

Essam Sharaf, currently in the UAE, confirms that parliamentary elections will be held on time, as parties' voice their dissatisfaction with the new electoral law

Ahram Online, Tuesday 5 Jul 2011
Essam Sharaf
Egypt's new Prime Minister-designate Essam Sharaf delivers a speech during a pro-democracy rally at Tahrir Square in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt’s prime minister, Essam Sharaf, confirmed that parliamentary elections will be held in September, as scheduled, putting an end to speculation that it would take place after the drafting of a new constitution.

Sharaf’s statements were released amid widespread objections from numerous political parties over the newly approved electoral law.

Party heads involved in the National Coalition for Egypt will meet on Tuesday with Sami Annan, the army’s chief of staff, to further discuss the new parliamentary electoral law.

The National Coalition for Egypt, which includes 18 political parties including the Wafd and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, sounded dissatisfaction over the new law.

The amendments to the Elections Law introduce a mix first-past-the-post voting and the party-list systems.

According to the government’s spokesman, Ahmed El-Samman, half of the seats will be elected via the proportional party-list system while the other half will be elected through the first-past-the-post system in which the candidate with the most votes wins.

In a meeting yesterday at the Ghad Party’s headquarters, representatives of 26 parties called for the suspension of the new law, saying it is crucially important to hold new discussions with the Cabinet over the amendments.

They said the initially approved law could seriously damage the transition to democracy as it would allow “money, gangs and thugs to control the parliamentary elections.”

The representatives also complained, arguing the law would “allow the old regime figures to return to the parliamentary scene, which would ruin the political life that the revolution aimed to change.”

The National Coalition for Egypt was created with the aim of establishing a pluralistic parliament, representative of all the political forces in society, and the creation of a national unity government

Likewise, Adel El-Kola, head of the Egyptian Arab Socialist Party, also expressed his flat refusal of the new law in a press conference.

He stated that 50 per cent of the parliamentary seats cannot be allocated to independent candidates.

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