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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

NDP's old guard and business tycoons sweep first round of the poll

The preliminary results of yesterday's election show old guard and business tycoons as the biggest winners

Gamal Essam El-Din, Tuesday 30 Nov 2010
Gamal Mubarak
Gamal Mubarak, waiting to vote at polling station (photo: AP)
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In a predictable result, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) swept the first round of the 28 November elections of the People's Assembly – Egypt's lower-house parliament.

The early results show that NDP's septuagenarian old guard party officials as well as business tycoon members of the influential Policies Committee headed by Gamal Mubarak -- the 47-year-old son of President Hosni Mubarak -- came out as the sweeping winners. The victorious old guard figures include Fathi Sorour, the long-serving speaker of the People's Assembly; Zakaria Azmi, the NDP's assistant-secretary general and chief of President Hosni Mubarak's staff; Abdel-Ahad Gamaleddin, spokesman of NDP's majority in parliament; Amal Othman, a former minister and the chairwoman of parliament's constitutional and legislative affairs committee; and Hussein Megawer, chairman of the General Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (GEFTU).

The list of NDP's old guard winners also includes nine cabinet ministers. The most prominent of these are Minister of Local Development Abdel-Salam Al-Mahgoub who fought a hard battle against Brotherhood's candidate Sobhi Saleh in Al-Raml district in Alexandria; Minister of Military Production Sayed Mashaal who faced ferocious competition from journalist Mostafa Bakri in Helwan south of Cairo; and Ali El-Moselhi, Minister of Social Solidarity, who faced a hard battle against Brotherhood's candidate El-Simari Mansour in Sharqiya governorate's district of Abu Kibier. Other cabinet ministers swept to an easy victory, notably Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Moufid Shehab; Minister of Agriculture Amin Abaza; and Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros Ghali.

The list of NDP winners was was also dominated by business tycoons who donated millions of pounds to the NDP during the two-week election campaign.

At the top of that list, Ahmed Ezz, NDP's secretary for organisational affairs and a close associate of Gamal Mubarak; Mohamed Abul-Enein, chairman of Cleopatra Group and chairman of parliament's industry committee; Tarek Talaat Mostafa, the brother of construction magnate Hisham Talaat Mostafa who is currently serving a 15 year term in prison for murder; and Khaled Khairy, a major investor in the tourism sector. Other prominent businessmen include construction magnate Mohamed El-Morshidi; tourism developer Mansour Amer; import and export tycoon Ahmed Shiha; industrialist Talaat El-Swedey; oil investor Akmal Qortam; construction magnate Mahmoud Othman; and Talaat El-Qawwas, a textile industrialist and owner of a well-known local chain of ready-made garment shops.

Three of NDP's Coptic candidates have also won: Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros Ghali; Souad Israel, the party's candidate for the women's quota seats in Luxor; and Khaled Al-Assuity, a businessman in Cairo's commercial district of Al-Azbakiya.

Early reactions show that senior officials of the ruling NDP were exultant at the early results, in particular business tycoon Ahmed Ezz who had overseen planning of the NDP's election campaign, and selected its candidates. According to Ezz, “the party's strategy based on fielding double candidates for the same seat and mobilising its voting bloc was highly successful in disrupting the tactics of rival candidates, especially those belonging to the outlawed group of Muslim Brotherhood.” Ezz added that “the party's good selection of its candidates was a big factor in defeating big opposition names such as Hamdeen Sabahi”, a Nasserist candidate who head the Karama party.

Alieddin Hilal, the NDP's secretary for media affairs, told the party's website (ndp.org.eg) that the party did well in the first round and will continue its solid campaign in the run-offs scheduled next Sunday. "The party's media committee played a great role in providing media reporters with all the correct information and managed to explain many of the events which took place during the election day,” Hilal said.

Independent analysts have called the NDP's success a “psychological” one. “In addition to the fact that its main symbols, including old guard and famous businessmen, won most of the seats in the first round, the defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood was the biggest achievement for the party's heavyweight leaders,”  said political analyst Ammar Ali Hassan.

"The NDP took this election as a retaliatory battle against the Brotherhood and vindicating its bad performance in the 2005 election,” Hassan said. 

 

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