Egypt’s elections authority stresses neutrality in presidential election, to announce timetable Monday

Ahram Online , Wednesday 20 Sep 2023

Ahmed Bendari, the executive director of the National Election Authority (NEA), stated that the authority will maintain neutrality toward candidates, adding that they will announce on Monday the timetable for the upcoming Egyptian presidential elections.

NEA
A still photo of the Egyptian National Election Authority's (NEA) press conference on Wednesday revealing the timetable of the upcoming presidential elections

 

“The NEA will maintain an equal distance from all presidential candidates,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday

Bendari said the NEA will guarantee the full rights of all candidates who meet the nomination requirements.

“The elections will be conducted under full judicial supervision, ensuring transparency, with each candidate having their representatives in all polling stations,” he said.

The upcoming presidential elections will be the fifth of their kind in achieving pluralism and competitiveness, and the third since the January revolution, he noted.

The NEA, which was established as per the 2014 constitution, is the independent body responsible for organizing and managing elections. In June, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi appointed veteran judge Walid Hamza to chair the NEA.

Hopeful candidates so far

While President El-Sisi has not officially declared his intent to run for a third term, several political parties have encouraged him to run. President El-Sisi, who was first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, is nearing the end of his current term in 2024. He has the option to run for an additional six-year term until 2030, based on constitutional amendments ratified in 2019.

To date, five political figures, including Abdel-Sanad Yamama, head of the Wafd Party; Fouad Badrawi, a former MP and member of the Wafd Party's Higher Council; Hazem Omar, head of the People's Republican Party; Ahmed El-Fadaly, chairman of the Democratic Peace Party; and Ahmed Tantawi, a former MP and former head of leftist Al-Karama (“Dignity”) Party, have expressed their plans to compete in the upcoming elections.

Two candidates have not yet declared they are running, but are reportedly considering it: Gamila Ismail and Farid Zahran, who serve as the heads of the liberal Dostour (“Constitution”) Party and the leftist Egyptian Social Democratic Party, respectively.

The candidates are scheduled to make their decision today.

According to Article 142 of the constitution, presidential candidates are required to secure endorsements from 20 MPs or 25,000 registered voters spread across at least 15 governorates, with a minimum of 1,000 endorsements from each governorate.

State neutrality, equal media coverage

On Tuesday, Egypt’s National Dialogue’s Board of Trustees urged state bodies to maintain their neutrality during the upcoming presidential elections and safeguard candidates’ right to campaign freely.

In a statement, the dialogue’s board emphasized that all presidential candidates must be able to campaign, seek endorsements, and reach voters freely, as well as receive equal time in media coverage.

Moreover, the board stressed the need for state apparatuses and institutions to maintain their neutrality toward candidates in a way that ensures they have equal opportunities according to the constitution.

It also described the upcoming presidential elections as an “important entitlement,” calling on political forces not to underestimate it.

“The board urges all influential forces in the Egyptian political life, whether supportive [of state’s policies], oppositional or independent to consider the upcoming presidential elections as a significant opportunity to strengthen the path of the modern civil democratic state of law,” the statement said.

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