The Concise Idiot’s Guide to the Egyptian Elections

Egyptian Eelections Watch (Ahram Online and Jadaliyya) , Sunday 27 Nov 2011

101 on the seat breakdown, when and where to vote and basic campaign regulations for the lower and upper houses of Egyptian Parliament (People's Assembly and Shura Council)

parliamentary elections in Cairo
File photo: A ballot box is seen at an empty polling station during the runoff of the parliamentary elections in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010. (photo: AP)

Egypt population: (est.) 85 million

Citizens eligible to vote: (approx.) 50 million

Parliamentary composition: bicameral

The People’s Assembly: the lower house

The Shura Council: upper consultative house

People’s Assembly elections: Conducted over three stages, each involving polling in nine governorates (out of total 27 governorates). Run-off elections are held a week later between front-runners in single-winner races where none of the candidates got 50%+ of the total vote.

The Assembly is elected, for the first time ever, through a mixed electoral system, whereby two-thirds of the total elected seats are chosen in accordance with a proportional representation list system, while the remaining one-third is elected in accordance with an individual candidacy system.

Polling dates: The election of the People’s Assembly begins on 28 November and ends on 10 January.

What you need choose?

As a voter you are expected to choose, otherwise your vote won't count:

Two individual candidates
One list

Who should you choose from the individual candidates?

You may choose any two individual candidates in any combination:

One professional, one worker/farmer
Two professionals
Two workers/farmers 

People’s Assembly elections stage #1:

•       Polling: 28-29 November; Run-offs: 5-6 December

  • In response to court orders, the Higher Elections Commission announced that election results for "Al-Sahel" district in Cairo (district #1) were annulled with respect to party list votes and single-winner race votes. It also announced that results for single-winner races were annulled for Alexandria district #3, Assiut district #2, and Assiut district #3. A re-vote will be convened for these districts on 10-11 January with runoff races scheduled for 17-18 January.

•       In: Cairo, Fayoum, Port Said, Damietta, Alexandria, Kafr El-Sheikh, Assiut, Luxor, and the Red Sea

People’s Assembly elections stage #2:

•      Polling: 14-15 December; Run-offs: 21-22 December

  • In response to a court ruling, the Higher Election Commission announced that party-list races for the governorate of Beheira, Sohag, and Menoufia have been postponed to 21 and 22 December, because some parties were not included on the ballot paper in the second constituencies of Beheira and Sohag and Menoufia’s first constituency. 

•       In: Giza, Beni Suef, Menoufiya, Sharqiya, Ismailia, Suez, Beheira, Sohag, and Aswan

People’s Assembly elections stage #3:

•       Polling: 3-4 January; Run-offs: 10-11 January

•       In: Minya, Qalioubiya, Gharbiya, Daqahliyya, North Sinai, South Sinai, Marsa Matruh, Qena, and the New Valley

People’s Assembly opening session: 23 January

Shura Council elections: Also conducted over two stages. Run-off elections are held a week later between front-runners in constituencies where none of the candidates got 50%+ of the total vote.

Polling dates: Shura council elections begin on 29 January and end on 22 February.

Shura Council elections stage #1:

•       Polling: 29-30 January; Run-offs: 7 February

•       In: Cairo, Alexandria, Gharbiya, Daqahaliya , Menoufiya, Damietta, North Sinai, South Sinai, Fayoum, Assiut, Qena, the Red Sea and New Valley (Al-Wadi Al-Gedid)

Shura Council elections stage #2:

•       Polling: 14-15 February; Run-offs: 22 February

•       In: Giza, Qalioubiya, Sharqiya, Beheira, Kafr El-Sheikh, Ismailiya, Port Said, Suez, Marsa Matrouh, Beni Suef, Minya, Sohag, Luxor and Aswan

Shura Council opening session: 28 February

People’s Assembly total membership: 508 (10 seats less than the outgoing Assembly whose number stood at 518)

            Number of elected seats: 498

            Number of seats appointed by president (SCAF): 10

Assembly seats elected via proportional representation list system: 332 from 46 constituencies

Assembly seats elected via individual candidacy system: 166 from 83 constituencies

Shura Council total membership: 270 (six seats more than the outgoing Shura Council whose number stood at 264)

            Number of elected seats: 180

            Number of seats appointed by president (SCAF): 90

Shura Council seats elected via proportional representation list system: 120 from 30 constituencies

Shura Council seats elected via individual candidacy system: 60 from 30 constituencies

Number of candidates running for People’s Assembly individual candidacy seats: 6,591 competing for 166 seats

Number of candidates running for Shura Council individual candidacy seats: 2,036 competing for 60 seats

Total number of candidates running for individual candidacy seats in both houses: 8,627 for 226 seats

Number of party (or party-coalition) lists competing for People’s Assembly proportional representation seats: 590 lists for 332 seats

Number of party (or party-coalition) lists competing for Shura Council proportional representation seats: 272 lists for 130 seats

(Figures released by Supreme Electoral Commission on 25 October 2011)

Election monitoring:

A Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) is tasked with supervising and monitoring parliamentary elections from beginning to end.

According to the most recent amendments of the 1956’s law on exercise of political rights, SEC is made up of purely judicial members (eleven members). The head of the SEC is Abdel-Moez Ibrahim, chairman of Cairo’s Appeal Court.

The 1956 political rights law entrusted the SEC with 16 roles and powers, on top of which are exercising full control of elections, regulating their performance and ensuring that they are entirely supervised and monitored by judges (a judge for every ballot box).

The SEC is also entrusted with selecting polling and vote-counting stations, preparing voter lists, regulating and supervising election campaigns in a way that should uphold the ban on raising religious and racial slogans and symbols.

Offenders of SEC’s regulations on election campaigns are subject to face prison sentences up to 15 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to 200,000 EGP.

Election spending limits:

The SEC has placed a 500,000 EGP ceiling on campaign expenditure for independent candidates, and 1 million EGP for party lists.

International monitoring of the election:

SEC’s chairman Abdel-Moez has stated that international monitors and media were welcome to take part in “following” – rather than officially “observing” – the upcoming parliamentary election.

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