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Tuesday, 01 December 2020

Mostaqbal Watan sweeps Senate poll

The pro-government Mostaqbal Watan secures a landslide in the Senate elections, according to semi-official results.

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 19 Aug 2020
Mostaqbal Watan sweeps Senate poll
Mostaqbal Watan sweeps Senate poll
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Semi-official results of last week’s Senate election show that the liberal Mostaqbal Watan (Future of the Homeland) party has swept the polls. 

Of the 100 individual seats being contested Mostaqbal Watan gained almost 70. What’s more, 20 of Mostaqbal Watan’s candidates will face a re-run on 8 and 9 September. 

In party list seats, the 100-candidate National Unified List led by Mostaqbal Watan won uncontested. The list was able to secure the five per cent threshold necessary to be declared the winner. Prominent names on the list include the businessmen Ahmed Sabbour, Mohamed Al-Manzlawi and Gamal Abul-Fotouh. 

The semi-official results were released by the Mostaqbal Watan Party’s Youth Secretariat. The official results were unavailable as Al-Ahram Weekly went to press.

In Cairo, Mostaqbal Watan won eight out of 10 contested individual seats, and in Alexandria six out of seven contested individual seats.  

In the governorates of Beheira, Qalioubiya, Damietta, Daqahliya, Sharqiya, Giza, Fayoum, and Minya, Mostaqbal Watan appeared to have won all the available seats. 

The party is a vociferous supporter of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi’s economic reform and anti-terrorism policies.  

The People’s Republican Party, led by steel tycoon Ahmed Abu Hashima, won five individual seats. A single independent, Hadi Louis Morgan, won a seat in Cairo. 

The semi-official results showed eight independents, three Islamist Nour Party candidates, as well as candidates affiliated with Tagammu, Congress, Reform and Development, Guardians of the Nation, Egyptian Freedom and Wafd parties will compete in second round run-offs. 

Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the National Elections Authority (NEA), announced on Monday that the official and final results of the Senate poll would be available on Wednesday.

“The final results can only be announced once the election appeals filed with the NEA are settled,” said Ibrahim.

He added the poll was conducted in an atmosphere of integrity and transparency. “The voting was fully supervised by judges, the polls were monitored by the media and civil society organisations, and the NEA received just five complaints from foreign reporters covering the vote.

“In general, the media was free to cover the Senate elections across Egypt. Indeed, 564 foreign reporters from 163 media institutions reported on the polls.” 

Ibrahim said the army and the Interior Ministry intensified security measures to secure the ballot and ensure a safe environment for citizens as they cast their votes. “The Health Ministry also provided 2,800 ambulances and 7,000 medical staff across polling locations nationwide,” said Ibrahim. 

“Sterilisation measures were applied throughout the voting process. They included the disinfection of areas where voters were present, including the polling stations, offices, ballot boxes and tents outside polling stations,” said Ibrahim. “Disinfection gates were installed in front of every polling station to protect voters against infection, and face masks and social distancing were mandatory inside polling stations.” 

A total of 787 candidates competed for individual seats in the new chamber, created when constitutional amendments were approved last year. 

The Senate, which has a five-year term, has 300 seats. One third of senators are elected via the individual candidacy system, a third through closed party lists, and a third will be named by the president. 

Ibrahim said “large numbers of voters, particularly women and young people, were keen to cast their votes in the first round of the polls.”

Civil society organisations monitoring the two-day poll said the turnout was highest during late afternoon and evening hours.

Ibrahim said campaigning for run-offs will begin on 20 August and continue until 5 September, while the vote will be on 8 and 9 September, from 9am to 9pm, in Egypt, and on 6 and 7 September for Egyptian expats. 

*A version of this article appears in print in the 20 August, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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