Thirty-eight political parties are fielding candidates for individual seats in the 2020 House of Representatives, 16 more than took part in the last election, according to the National Centre for Research and Consultancies (NCRC), an independent NGO that since 2011 has been working to raise public awareness of the role of parliament.
Of the 38 parties, five are fielding a single candidate. As well as more parties, there are more female candidates, more polling stations, and more judges — 22,000, up from 16,000 at the 2015 election — to supervise them.
Below, a selection of competing parties is listed in order of the number of candidates they are fielding.
The Mostaqbal Watan (Future of the Homeland) Party is fielding 280 candidates in individual seats across all of Egypt’s 27 governorates. It is the largest number from any party in the parliamentary elections, representing more than seven percent of the total.
Formed in 2014, the party won 53 seats in the 2015 parliamentary elections, becoming the second largest party in parliament — the Free Egyptians party won 65 seats.
In May 2018 the pro-regime party merged with the For the Sake of Egypt alliance and successfully poached 50 MPs mainly from the Free Egyptians and Wafd parties, becoming the largest party in parliament. It also secured a landslide victory in the recent Senate elections, by winning more than 70 per cent of the seats.
Guardians of the Nation
Homaat Al-Watan (Guardians of the Nation) Party is fielding 121 candidates across 24 governorates. Founded in 2013 by retired military officers, the party had 18 seats in the outgoing House of Representatives and won 10 seats in the Senate.
The Wafd Party has 67 candidates competing in 23 governorates. Egypt’s oldest political party was founded in 1918, dissolved after the 1952 Revolution, and then resurrected in 1978.
The party’s members are currently divided into opposing factions. It failed to secure any individual seats in last month’s Senate elections despite fielding 24 candidates. It did, however, win six party list seats. It had 26 seats in the 2015 parliament.
The party is fielding 58 candidates across 22 governorates. Formed in 2012, the People’s Republican Party supported former foreign minister Amr Moussa in the 2012 presidential election. It secured 17 seats in the Senate, and had 13 seats in the outgoing parliament.
The party has 49 candidates standing in 20 governorates. Founded in July 2011, its membership consists largely of former National Democratic Party (NDP) supporters. The NDP, which was led by Hosni Mubarak, was dissolved following the 2011 Revolution.
The Conference Party
The Conference Party is a secularist political party. It is contesting with 46 candidates in 20 governorates.
It was created by the merger of five liberal and leftist parties, as well as remnants of the former NDP regime in 2012.
It had 12 seats in the 2015 parliament.
The Conservative Party
Founded in 2006 by Mustafa Abdel-Aziz, a writer and journalist, and containing a number of journalists and public figures among its membership, the Conservative Party is contesting 26 seats across 15 governorates.
The party froze its activities in 2010 in protest at security interference in elections under the Mubarak regime, becoming active again following the 2011 Revolution. It had six seats in the 2015 parliament.
The National Party of Egypt
Hizb Masr Al-Qawmi (The National Party of Egypt) is fielding 23 candidates in 12 governorates.
Founded in 2011, it is led by Anwar Al-Sadat’s nephew, Talaat Al-Sadat, the last chairman of the NDP before it was dissolved.
The Egyptian Patriotic Movement
The Egyptian Patriotic Movement has 20 candidates standing in nine governorates. It was formed by former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik, and Mohamed Abu Hamed, a former vice chairman of the Free Egyptians Party and founder of the Life of the Egyptians Party.
The Egyptian Social Democratic Party
Al-Ḥizb Al-Masri Al-Dimoqrati Al-Igtimaai (the Egyptian Social Democratic Party) has 17 candidates standing in nine governorates. It was founded after the 2011 Revolution when two minor liberal parties, the Liberal Egyptian Party, and the Egyptian Democratic Party, merged.
The Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Tagammu Party ran in the 2012 Shura Council elections as part of the Egyptian Bloc. It had four seats in the outgoing parliament.
The Nour Party
The Salafist party is standing in 15 seats, a far cry from the heady days of the 2011-12 elections when it won a quarter of the seats.
The Free Egyptians
Although the Free Egyptians Party won the most seats (65) in the 2015 parliamentary elections, it has suffered from a series of internal divisions and is currently fielding just 14 candidates in seven governorates.
The socialist Tagammu Party is contesting 11 seats, while Abnaa Masr (The Sons of Egypt) and the Egyptian Tahrir Party are fielding 10 candidates each.
Ten political parties are competing for five seats or less. They include the Ghad (five seats), Ittihad (three seats) and the Popular Socialist Alliance Party (two seats).
Masr Baladi, the Liberal Socialists Party and Iradet Geel (The Will of a Generation) are among the five parties fielding a single candidate.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 29 October, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly