Preparations for Egypt's parliamentary elections ‎will begin soon: HEC

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 14 Jul 2015

The higher election committee said it would start preparations for parliamentary elections, which have been postponed since 2013 due to legal obstacles

Parliament building
Egyptian house of Parliament in downtown Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

A nine-member judicial body in charge of ‎supervising Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections ‎held a meeting Monday to begin preparing for potential ‎polls.

Ayman Abbas, chairman of Cairo's Appeals ‎Court and head of the Higher Election Committee ‎‎(HEC), said the committee will remainin session ‎over the next few days until a timeline for elections is ‎announced.‎

According to HEC's spokesman, Omar Marwan, ‎the meetings come after the electoral ‎constituencies law, necessary for paving the way for ‎the elections, was ratified by president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

"We hope ‎that two other laws which regulate formation of house of ‎representatives, and the exercise of [voting] rights will also be ratified soon so that the committee can set a ‎timeline for the new polls," Marwan said in a press ‎conference on Monday.‎

Marwan also indicated that President El-Sisi must ‎also issue a decree on HEC's new make-up.

‎‎"As some members of the committee have reached ‎the retirement age, the decree will come to ‎announce the names of its new judicial members."

HEC's members met Monday with ‎representatives from more than 30 foreign ‎embassies in Cairo. Marwan explained that the meeting ‎reviewed the roles of HEC and its affiliated ‎committees, the procedures necessary to ensure ‎the integrity of the polls, and the necessity of active participation of civil society organisations and ‎the media in supervising the polls. ‎

Marwan stressed that HEC's Secretariat General ‎will be in charge of the final details on ‎the election process before a timeline is announced.‎

Egypt's parliamentary elections – the last part of a ‎political roadmap that has been adopted after the ‎ousting of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi ‎‎in July of 2013 – were postponed after two election laws were ruled ‎unconstitutional last March.‎

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Transitional ‎Justice, Ibrahim Al-Heneidy, told reporters that a new ‎timeline for the elections is expected after ‎the end of the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr next ‎week.

"When all constitutional and legal measures ‎are finalised, it will be necessary for HEC to ‎set a timeline," said Heneidy, adding that he hopes that "if ‎everything goes okay, Egypt's parliamentary ‎elections will be held in September."‎

According to article 115 of the 2014 constitution, ‎Egypt's parliament must convene before the first ‎Thursday of the month of October.‎

Although most of Egypt's political parties have ‎complained that the new election laws, especially ‎the one on electoral constituencies, will not help to create "an inclusive parliament", they stressed ‎they would not boycott the polls.‎

President El-Sisi has urged non-Islamist political parties ‎to form a single electoral coalition capable of winning ‎a majority in the coming parliament.‎

Egypt's parliament-to-be will comprise 596 deputies, ‎the highest in the country's 150-year-old parliamentary ‎life.

The constituencies' law states that as many as ‎‎448 MPs will be elected as independents, 120 as ‎party-based deputies, and 28 as presidential ‎appointees.‎

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