Egypt's initial list of 2015 parliamentary ‎candidates announced

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 16 Sep 2015

The applications of several prospective candidates looking ‎to run in Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections are rejected, with appeals allowed for three ‎days‎

File photo of Egypt's parliament (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's Higher Elections Committee (HEC) announced Wednesday an initial list of candidates ‎accepted to contest the country's upcoming ‎parliamentary elections, scheduled for October and ‎November.‎

HEC spokesperson Omar Marawan disclosed Tuesday ‎night that a total number of 5,‎420‎ had applied, ‎all seeking to run as independents. In addition, nine‎ electoral coalitions fielded ‎candidates to run on party lists.‎

According to Egypt's election laws, the coming parliament will ‎be composed of 596 members, with 448 independents, 120 ‎party-coalition-based MPs, and 28 presidential appointees.‎

Marawan indicated that topping the list of electoral ‎coalitions are the For the ‎Love of Egypt list, the Call of Egypt, the Knights of Egypt, the Nour Party, the Egyptian Front, the ‎Independence Current, the Republican Alliance, and ‎the Reawakening of Egypt.

Marawan added: "If a certain candidate was not ‎placed on the list announced Wednesday, he or she ‎could file an appeal over three days, or between 16 and ‎‎18 September.‎

Initial news Wednesday shows that the ‎applications of a number of high-profile candidates were ‎rejected, including Ahmed Ezz, the former leading official ‎of former president Hosni Mubarak's ruling party, and ‎Tawfik Okasha, the owner of the independent television ‎channel Al-Faraeen.‎

The applications of other high-profile figures, including ‎Mortada Mansour, chairman of Zamalek Sporting ‎Club, and Sama Al-Masry, a belly-dancer, were accepted.‎

The HEC said it will release its final say on appeals 27 ‎September, while those who might choose to withdraw ‎before the race begins will be allowed two extra days to do so, or until ‎‎30 September.

"We can say that a final list of ‎candidates running in the first stage of the polls in 14 ‎governorates will be made public 1 ‎October," said Marawan.‎

The first round of Egypt's long-delayed parliamentary ‎elections will be held between 17 and 28 October in 14 ‎governorates: Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assuit, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, New Valley, ‎the Red Sea, Beheira, Alexandria and Marsa ‎Matrouh.

Campaigning for this stage will run between 4 ‎and 15 October.‎

Marawan disclosed that the HEC has decided that Egyptian ‎expatriates in three Arab countries torn by civil war — ‎Libya, Syria and Yemen — would be exempted from ‎voting.

Egyptian expatriates are scheduled to vote in the ‎first stage of the polls 17-18 October.‎

Marawan underlined that registration procedures had gone ‎smooth, although candidates had complained of the ‎costly and cumbersome process of medical check-ups ‎necessary to apply.

Marawan said that although two court ‎rulings on medical check-ups and electoral districts were ‎issued last week, the HEC was keen that these rulings would ‎not disrupt the registration process or the poll ‎timeline.

"The original registration deadline of 12 ‎September was maintained exceptt for in two districts in the ‎Upper Egypt governorate of Qena," said Marawan.‎

Marawan explained that the HEC had decided to extend ‎registration in Qena and ‎Qous in Upper Egypt only, by three days, or until Tuesday. ‎This came in line with the 7 September court ruling that the ‎boundaries of the two constituencies should be redrawn ‎to achieve representative equality.‎

Most political parties announced that they had already ‎submitted their lists of candidates before the deadline of ‎‎12 September. Compared to the ‎prior week, which saw a number between 200 and ‎‎250 prospective candidates registering per day, as ‎many as 899 applied on the last day alone.‎

The electoral coalition named For the Love of Egypt ‎said it had submitted four lists of candidates in the last ‎two days. The coalition's coordinator, Sameh Seif Al-‎Yazal, said the four lists, including 120 hopefuls, will ‎run in the four constituencies reserved for competition ‎among party-based candidates: Cairo, South and Middle ‎Delta (45 seats); North, Middle and South Upper Egypt ‎‎(45 seats); East Delta (15 seats), and West Delta (15 ‎seats).‎

On Sunday, Emad Gad, For the Love of Egypt's ‎spokesperson, said the coalition would win the East Delta ‎constituency (including 15 seats) unopposed.

"This is ‎due to the fact that we were the only coalition that ‎submitted a list of party candidates in this constituency," ‎said Gad.

The HEC, however, insisted that "being the only ‎candidate or the only party in a certain constituency is ‎not enough to be automatically declared the winner."

‎‎"An independent candidate or a party list must get five per ‎cent of the vote in this constituency in accordance with ‎Article 24 of the House of Representatives law," ‎Marawan said.‎

The For the Love of Egypt coalition is widely believed ‎to be supported by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, ‎though El-Sisi has denied that he supports any electoral bloc over another. ‎

The coalition includes many high-profile candidates ‎from different political parties, such as Al-Wafd and the ‎Free Egyptians Party.‎

In a press conference Saturday night, chairman of Al-‎Wafd Party Al-Sayed Al-Badawi said the party's total ‎candidates in the coming polls will stand at 273.

"Out of ‎this total, nine will join the lists of the For the Love of ‎Egypt coalition, while the rest (264) will run as ‎independents," said Al-Badawi, indicating that "The list ‎includes 14 Copts, 17 women, and 22 young people ‎below the age of 35."‎

Marawan said three electoral lists applied in Cairo: For ‎the Love of Egypt, the Nour Party, and the Coalition of ‎the Egyptian Front and the Independence Current.‎

Competition in Cairo will be highly competitive as a ‎large number of high-profile figures, including former ‎cabinet ministers, religious clerics, artists, former judges, ‎sportsmen, and business tycoons, are set  to run.

Cairo alone is ‎allocated 48 independent seats, while, alongside five ‎other governorates in South and Middle of the Nile ‎Delta, it is allocated 45 party-based seats, or a total 93 seats.‎

In Upper Egypt, three lists have been rejected by the HEC, among which were Nidaa Masr (the Call ‎of Egypt), while two were accepted (the Coalition of the National Awakening, and For the Love of Egypt). 

In the East Delta, only For the Love of Egypt applied and was accepted.‎

In West Delta, five lists applied, two of which were rejected and three accepted. For the Love of Egypt, ‎Nour Party, the Coalition of the Egyptian Front ‎and the Independence Current were accepted, while the Knights of Egypt and the ‎Call of Egypt were rejected. 

As for Cairo, four lists applied, three of which were accepted and one rejected. 

The ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party, the only ‎Islamist force contesting the polls, said it decided to ‎field independent candidates in just 50 per cent of ‎constituencies.‎

Shaaban Abdel-Alim, a leading official of the Nour ‎Party, told Ahram Online that "The party has also ‎decided to field two party lists only with 90 seats – in Cairo ‎and South and Middle Delta, and East Delta – instead of ‎four."

"We have limited the number of our candidates, ‎either as independents or party-based ones, to show that ‎we want to be partners with other political groups in the ‎coming parliament," said Abdel-Alim.‎

Meanwhile, the last day of registration saw a lot of high-‎profile figures applying as independents. On top of these ‎is prominent lawyer and flamboyant chairman of ‎Zamalek Sporting Club, Mortada Mansour. While Mansour ‎will run in Daqahliya governorate's district of Meit ‎Ghamr, his son, Ahmed, will run in Giza's district of ‎Dokki.‎

Zakaria Nassef, a former Ahli Club football player, applied to run in south Cairo's district of Maadi.‎

Al-Ahram political analyst Amr El-Choubaki also ‎registered as an independent in Dokki. ‎

In Menoufiya, Moatz Al-Shazli, the son of a former ‎leading official of Mubarak's ruling party, also ‎registered.‎

Sama Al-Masry, a maverick female actress-dancer and ‎owner of a TV channel, submitted papers to run ‎as independent in Cairo's Al-Azbakiya district.‎

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