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Sunday, 29 November 2020

Egypt's Mostaqbal Watan Party slated to win Senate election: Political analyst

Campaigning for Egypt's first Senate election kicked off on Sunday and runs through 8 August

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 27 Jul 2020
Egypt
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Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the National Elections Authority (NEA), announced on Sunday evening that the papers of 787 candidates for the 9 August Senate elections were accepted.

"This is the final number once appeals filed by rejected candidates were settled by courts on Sunday," said Ibrahim, adding that "an official list will be published by two state-owned newspapers this week."

Ibrahim said candidates are prohibited from raising religious slogans or using mosques and churches for campaigning.

Ibrahim stressed that the media should refrain from spreading rumors or showing bias to parties. "The media should provide fair coverage and deal with all candidates on equal footing," Ibrahim said.

Yasser El-Hodeibi, deputy chairman of the Wafd Party, said campaigning will be limited to posters of candidates in streets and squares in addition to online campaigning.

"Each poster or banner will include the candidate's name or party list, and the election symbol," said El-Hodeibi, indicating that "no public rallies will be held due to the coronavirus. Candidates can only hold personal meetings with voters or conduct door-to-door missions."

Semi-final tallies show that Mostaqbal Watan, or the Future of the Homeland Party, which holds the majority in the House of Representatives, has fielded the largest number of candidates, with reports indicating that 95 members will be contesting the 100 individual seats.

This makes Mostaqbal Watan the leading political party to field candidates for individual seats, followed by the Wafd Party, with only 20 candidates. There are 24 political parties fielding individual candidates.

Mostaqbal Watan also dominates among the 11 political parties running under the umbrella "The National Unified List" with the slogan "For the Sake of Egypt," fielding 59 candidates.

The other parties on the list include the People's Republican (10 candidates), the Guardians of the Nation (10 candidates), the Wafd (eight candidates), the National Movement (two candidates), the Reform and Development (three candidates), the Tagammu (two candidate), the Conference (one candidate), the Egyptian Freedom (one candidate), the Egyptian Democratic Socialist (three candidates), and Modern Egypt (one candidate).

There are two other party lists, the Ittihad and Long Live Egypt coalitions, which include candidates from a mix of low-profile political parties.

The fact that Mostaqbal Watan is the only party which fielded candidates for almost all seats led political analysts to speculate that the party will achieve an easy and landslide win.

Al-Ahram political analyst Amr Hashem Rabie said he expects that the Mostaqbal Watan-led Unified List will win almost uncontested.

"It is clear that the party has a lot of money and a big network of offices in all of Egypt, two factors which pushed most political parties to join its Unified List rather than run on their own," said Rabie, adding that "Mostaqbal Watan looks like a new ruling party though it is not the party of the government or the regime."

Mostaqbal Watan is a fervent supporter of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's economic and security policies.

Rabie fears that the lack of serious competition in the coming Senate election and the spread of the coronavirus will dissuade citizens from participating in the poll.

"I am afraid that the turnout will be low, also due to the fact that everyone knows that the Senate does not have significant powers," said Rabie.

Hossam El-Khouli, deputy chairman of the Mostaqbal Watan, however, believes that the Senate election will be a step forward in the direction of activating Egypt's political life.

"The Mostaqbal Watan-led list includes candidates from across the political spectrum in Egypt," said El-Khouli, adding that "the list includes candidates from radical leftist parties like the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, moderate leftist parties like the Tagammu, radical liberal parties like the Guardians of the Nation, and moderate liberal ones like the Wafd Party."

El-Khouli agrees that competition in the upcoming Senate poll will be limited to individual seats.

"There are 24 political parties fielding candidates for individual seats and this promises a lot of competition," said El-Khouli.

As for the party list seats, El-Khouli indicated that major political parties agreed that it is better for them to run on one unified list.

"This will ensure that the coming Senate comprise representatives from all political parties with diverse platforms and ideologies, and this is good for democracy," said El-Khouli. 

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