NSF to field one list in upcoming parliamentary elections

Ahram Online, Sunday 13 Jan 2013

Egypt's largest opposition bloc confirms it will join forces for upcoming polls, appoints Free Egyptian Party member Mahmoud El-Alaily as electoral commission spokesperson

The Egyptian parliament session after the revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, January 23, 2012. (Photo: Reuters

Opposition coalition the National Salvation Front (NSF) will participate on "one list across all constituencies nationwide in the coming parliamentary elections," its new electoral commission spokesperson Mahmoud El-Alialy announced late Sunday.

El-Alaily, who is assistant secretary-general of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, was appointed NSF elections spokesperson Saturday.

The names of the candidates in constituencies where the bloc will run are expected to be announced during the NSF's forthcoming meeting on Wednesday, El-Alaily added in his first statement as spokesperson.

"Each member party of the NSF will field their candidates and priority will be given in accordance with standards set earlier by the front."

In December, President Mohamed Morsi called for a national dialogue between all political powers in a bid to solve the deepening political crisis after the controversial new Constitution was ratified.

However, the meetings were widely boycotted by the opposition.

In its sixth session, the national dialogue proposed a final draft of amendments to parliamentary elections law: two thirds of seats will now be contested under the party list system, while one third will be won by the individual candidates.

In addition, a document of amendments proposed by the national dialogue on some disputed articles of Egypt's newly-passed national charter will be put to the House of Representatives (lower house of parliament) during its first session after it is elected.

The parliamentary elections law, which is currently being drafted by the Cabinet, must first be examined by the Shura Council (upper house of parliament) and then passed to the High Constitutional Court (HCC) before being issued ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

On Wednesday, officials at the presidency told Reuters that Egypt will hold parliamentary elections in April.

"The exact date for the vote has not been fixed yet. The president will announce it no later than February 25," the unnamed source confirmed.

The NSF issued a statement Saturday listing eleven conditions necessary to ensure fair parliamentary elections.

These include: full judicial supervision, holding elections over two days, ensuring stamped ballot papers, allowing NGOs to monitor the process, limited appropriations of electoral campaigns, as well as ensuring a minimal of one female representation among every three candidates.

Furthermore, the NSF demanded the formation of an unbiased government before announcing the date for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The National Salvation Front is a recently-formed umbrella group led by former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa, along with reform campaigner and head of the Constitution Party Mohamed ElBaradei.

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