Preparations for Egypt's parliamentary elections will shift into high gear this week, with hopeful candidates beginning on Saturday to take the required medical tests and check-ups in line with the National Elections Authority’s (NEA) rules.
A statement by the NEA said that hopeful candidates can use the Ministry of Health's website to report their personal data, select the hospital or the lab they favour, and make an appointment for the medical check-up.
Article 10 of the House of Representatives' Law (law 140/2020) stipulates that a hopeful seeking to run in parliamentary elections should submit a number of papers, including a medical check-up document showing that he/she tests negative for drugs.
A number of current MPs including parliamentary spokesperson Salah Hassaballah, leftist MP Abdel-Hamid Kamal, and deputy speaker Soliman Wahdan underwent the necessary medical check-ups on Saturday.
The medical check-ups come a few days ahead of the start of candidacy registration on 17 September, and runs until 26 September.
The NEA held a surprise meeting on 10 September, announcing that registration will open on 17 September and that the two-stage election will kick off on 21 October and wrap up on 14 December.
The first stage will cover 14 governorates between 21 October and 30 November. These include Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, the Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, and Marsa Matruh.
The second stage will cover 13 governorates between 4 November and 14 December. These comprise Cairo, Qalioubiya, Daqahliyya, Menoufiya, Gharbiya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Sharqiya, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailiya, Suez, North Sinai, and South Sinai.
The NEA's press conference on 10 September came as a surprise to MPs and political parties. Many said they thought the NEA would announce the timetable for the House poll once the Senate election finishes on 16 September and that candidate registration would likely open in October.
The NEA's sudden announcement of the registration and voting dates last Friday led political parties to step up coordination to prepare their lists of candidates.
The pro-government Mostaqbal Watan (Future of the Homeland) party said on Sunday that it is currently leading a coalition that will contest the 284 seats reserved to party lists.
The coalition includes 12 political parties: Mostaqbal Watan, Al-Wafd, the Guardians of the Nation, Modern Egypt, the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, the People's Republican, the Reform and Development, Tagammu, the Generation's Will, the Egyptian Freedom, the Justice, and the Congress.
The above coalition is almost similar to the one which was formed last August by Mostaqbal Watan to run for the Senate's 100 party list seats. The coalition – officially entitled "the National Unified List" – won the party list seats unopposed.
The Mostaqbal Watan party said it will hold a press conference Sunday to announce preparations for the elections and potential candidates for the individual and party list seats.
A total of 568 seats will be up for grabs in Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections, while another 28 seats (5 per cent) will be named by the president, bringing the House's seats to a total of 596.
The 568 seats are split equally between individual and party list deputies – meaning there will be 284 candidates from each category. The House election law stipulates that 25 percent of the total seats must be reserved for women.