Diehard Mubarak-era figures lose big in first ‎stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 21 Oct 2015

Dozens of Mubarak-era figures who ran as ‎independents have failed to win seats‎ in the first stage of Egypt's parliamentary ‎elections

File Photo: Parliament Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Before the Higher Elections Committee (HEC) in charge of ‎supervising Egypt's parliamentary elections announces ‎the official results of the first stage of the polls, semi-‎final reports show that the ultraconservative Salafist ‎Nour Party and dozens of Hosni ‎Mubarak-era figures were the two biggest losers.‎

While 25 Nour candidates qualified for the ‎second stage run-off round, scheduled next Tuesday ‎and Wednesday, Mubarak-era figures who ran as ‎independents have all lost. As one political observer ‎put it, "They lost the bones and flesh."‎

Nour's chairman Younis Makhyoun said in a public ‎statement Monday night that "although Nour lost ‎the one party list constituency it chose to contest in the ‎first stage — the Nile West Delta, as many as 25 out of ‎a total of 160 candidates who ran as independents ‎qualified for the run-off round." "We have five in ‎Alexandria, nine in Beheira, four in Al-Fayoum, one in ‎Assuit, one in Beni Suef, one in Qena, two in the New ‎Valley, and two in Marsa Matrouh,” Makhyoun said.‎

Makhyoun refused to answer questions on whether his ‎party will withdraw from the second round, scheduled ‎‎22-23 November. There has been a lot of talk in ‎Nour circles that Younis came under pressure in the ‎last few hours to withdraw from the polls. ‎

Meanwhile, remnants of Mubarak's once ruling and now defunct ‎National Democratic Party (NDP) who ran as ‎independents failed to win a single seat. In ‎Alexandria, at least 10 candidates identified as NDP ‎diehards were kicked out of the race. Just one former ‎NDP candidate, Riza Dief Allah, and two Nour ‎independents qualified for the run-off round in Al-‎Amriyya district, west of Alexandria.‎

The biggest winners in Alexandria are candidates of ‎the Free Egyptians Party, founded by business tycoon ‎Naguib Sawiris, and the "Future of the Homeland" Party, ‎founded by a number of young political activists loyal to ‎President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.‎

In general, as many as 65 independent candidates ‎fielded by the Free Egyptians Party were able to qualify ‎in the Nile West Delta and Upper Egypt governorates.‎

Next to the Free Egyptians Party comes the old Wafd ‎Party whose 27 independent candidates qualified ‎for the run-off round.‎

Two independent leftists were able to qualify in ‎Alexandria: Kamal Ahmed, a former long-time Nasserist ‎MP in Attarian district, and Haytham Hariri, son of the ‎late leftist activist Abul Ezz Al-Hariri, in Karmooz ‎Moharrem Bey district.‎

In the governorate of Al-Minay in ‎Upper Egypt, Bahaa Fikri, a former NDP secretary-‎general, failed to qualify. Semi-official figures show that ‎independents fielded by the Free Egyptians and Wafd ‎parties qualified instead.‎

In Al-Minay's nearby governorate of Assuit, no NDP ‎diehards were able to win seats or even qualify.‎

Semi-official reports show that former NDP officials ‎were able to win seats only as candidates on the party ‎list fielded by the "For the Love of Egypt" ‎coalition in the Nile West Delta and Upper Egypt. ‎

Topping the list of successful "For the Love of Egypt" ‎Mubarak-era figures in Alexandria are industrialist and ‎chairman of Semouha Sporting Club Mohamed Farag ‎Amer, businesswoman Sahar Talaat Mostafa, ‎businessmen Farag Siidawi, Mohamed Al-Moghazi and ‎Mohamed Al-Zini in Beheira, and Ahmed Raslan in ‎Marsa Matrouh.‎

The victory of the "For the Love of Egypt" coalition also ‎came at the expense of the Egyptian Front and the ‎Independence Current Alliance, an umbrella grouping of ‎Mubarak-era figures.‎

The Egyptian Front is composed of two political parties ‎‎— the National Movement and Egypt My Homeland — ‎founded by Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed ‎Shafiq.‎

Ahmed Al-Fadalli, the alliance's coordinator, announced ‎Tuesday night that it might decide to withdraw from ‎the second stage, leaving the field wide open to "For the ‎Love of Egypt" coalition to win the remaining party list ‎constituencies with 60 seats.‎

Al-Fadalli complained that HEC's approval that the ‎alliance contest the Upper Egypt party list ‎constituency just days ahead of the vote day ‎negatively affected its performance.‎

The Independence Current includes 42 low-key political ‎parties, most founded under the former regime of Hosni ‎Mubarak as democratic décor.‎

Semi-official figures show that competition in the first ‎stage's run-off round will cover around 65 per cent of ‎independent constituencies — or around 444 seats. The ‎number of independent seats up for grabs in the first ‎stage stands at 226.‎

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