Egypt's Mostaqbal Watan Party expected to dominate Senate elections

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 28 Jul 2020

The only competition will be confined to the 100 individual seats up for grabs in the 300-member chamber

Egypt's Mostaqbal Watan

Egypt's Mostaqbal Watan Party is expected to secure an easy landslide victory in the Senate elections scheduled to be held 11-12 August.

The final list of the Senate election candidates released by the National Elections Authority (NEA) on Sunday evening revealed that the National Unified List led by the Mostaqbal Watan Party will contest the 100 seats reserved for party lists in the 300-member chamber unopposed.

It was expected that two other party coalitions – Ittihad and Long Live Egypt – would also vie for the 100 party list seats, but their papers were rejected by the NEA upon the grounds that they failed to submit the required candidacy documents.

Egypt's newly reconstituted Senate will be comprised of 300 seats, one-third of which will be elected via the individual candidacy system, another third through the closed party list system, and the final third to be named by the president. The Senate law stipulates that at least 10 percent of the seats be allocated to women.

Senate members' tenure is set at five years.

In terms of individual seats, the final tally also shows that Mostaqbal Watan (or the Future of the Homeland Party) is also set to dominate the poll. The party, which holds the majority in the House of Representatives, has fielded the largest number of candidates, with the final list 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.

Al-Ahram political analyst Amr Hashem Rabie told Ahram Online that the final list of Senate election candidates released by the National Elections Authority shows that Mostaqbal Watan is sure to win the 100 seats reserved to party lists unopposed.

"Article 25 of the Senate law, however, stipulates that if a party list runs unopposed, it shall be required to win at least 5 percent of the vote in order to be declared the winner," said Rabie, "but if it failed, a re-election would be held."

Rabie says that although Mostaqbal Watan is a new party that was founded in 2014, it was able in a short time to become the majority party.

The party is funded by a lot of businessmen who strongly support Egypt President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi's economic and security policies. The party gained 53 seats (9 percent) in the House of Representatives' elections in 2015, but in 2018 and 2019 it was able to swell its ranks in parliament by attracting representatives of other political parties.

Mohamed Shawki, the legal representative of Mostaqbal Watan, told reporters Monday that the Mostaqbal Watan-led National Unified List will do its best to win the required 5 percent of the vote.

"The number of registered voters in Egypt is estimated at 63 million and this means that we have to get around 3 million votes, and this is not difficult," said Shawki.

Shawki also indicated that the Mostaqbal Watan-led National Unified List will strictly follow the NEA's instructions related to campaigning.

"We will not hold public rallies due to the coronavirus, but we will use loudspeakers and caravan cars to promote for the list," said Shawki.

Hossam El-Khouli, deputy chairman of the Mostaqbal Watan Party, said the failure of political forces to form coalitions to run for the party list seats was largely due to the fact that most of them chose to join the National Unified List led by Mostaqbal Watan.

The Mostaqbal Watan-led National Unified List includes 11 parties: the Mostaqbal Watan (59 candidates), 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 candidates), the Conference (one candidate), the Egyptian Freedom (one candidate), the Egyptian Democratic Socialist (three candidates), and Modern Egypt (one candidate).

The Mostaqbal Watan-led National Unified List will include the party's leader, former chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek, who is expected to be chairman of the Senate.

The list also comprises deputy chairman of the party Hossam El-Khouli, Wafd party deputy chairman Yasser El-Hodeibi, Wafd assistant secretary-general Tarek El-Tohami, editor of the Tagamu party's mouthpiece Al-Ahali Amina Al-Naqash, deputy editor of the independent weekly Al-Osbou Mahmoud Bakri, Chairman of the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party Farid Zahran, and steel tycoon Ahmed Abu Hashima.

The competition for the 100 party list seats will be held in four districts, two with 15 seats each and two with 30 seats each. The four districts are: the Cairo and Middle Delta (35 seats), the East Delta (15 seats), Alexandria and the West Delta (15 seats), and the North, Middle and South Upper Egypt (35 seats).

The only competition in next month's Senate election will now be confined to the 100 individual seats up for grabs in the 300-member chamber. As many as 95 Mostaqbal Watan candidates will be contesting the 100 seats reserved for individuals.

"This, again, means that Mostaqbal Watan is set to dominate the poll without much competition," said Rabie.

El-Khouli said as many 24 political parties have candidates vying for the 100 individual seats.

"There will be much competition, and I expect the next Senate to include representatives from a diversity of political forces," said El-Khouli.

The NEA announced on Sunday evening that the papers of 787 candidates have been accepted. The initial figure was 762, but appeals from rejected candidates were accepted by administrative courts to bring the final number to 787 candidates.

Campaigning began on Sunday and will end on 7 August.

The polls will kick off for Egyptians abroad on 8-9 August, and will start in Egypt on 11-12 August.

The polls results will be announced on 19 August.

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