Egypt parliamentary election surprises

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 10 Nov 2020

A large number of sitting MPs failed to retain their seats in the second stage of parliamentary elections

Election surprises
photo: Amir Abdel Zaher

The National Election Authority (NEA) will hold a press conference on 15 November to announce the results of the second stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, held between 4 and 8 November.

Semi-official figures released by judges supervising the election showed that the Mostaqbal Watan-led National Coalition had won the 100 seats reserved for party lists in the district covering the governorates of Cairo, Qalioubiya, Daqahliya, Gharbiya, Menoufiya and Kafr El-Sheikh. The National Coalition beat its rival, the Alliance of the Independents, by a wide margin. In New Cairo, for example, the National Coalition won 69,840 votes while the alliance attracted just 11,019.

National Coalition candidates in the Cairo and Delta district included parliament deputy speaker Suleiman Wahdan and the chairmen of parliament’s social solidarity, religious affairs, telecommunications and information technology, education and small-scale projects committees.

The list of the National Coalition winners also included parliamentary spokesperson of the Mostaqbal Watan Party Atef Nasr; deputy chairman of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Tarek Al-Khouli; founder of the anti-Muslim Brotherhood Tamarrod (rebel) movement Mahmoud Badr, and chairman of the National Council for Youth Safieddin Kharboush.

The second party list district covering the governorates of Sharqiya, Damietta, Suez, Ismailia, Port Said, South Sinai and North Sinai saw stiff competition over 42 seats between the National Coalition and the Sons of Egypt bloc. The results had not yet been announced when Al-Ahram Weekly went to press.

The 142 independent seats up for grabs in the second stage were contested by 2,085 candidates in 70 constituencies. Semi-official results revealed some surprises.

Mortada Mansour, the controversial lawyer and chairman of Zamalek Sporting Club, lost the constituency Mit Ghamr in the Nile-Delta governorate of Daqahliya. Mansour, who stood as an independent, won 21,271 votes, coming in sixth. He trailed the Wafd Party candidate Badawi Abdel-Latif on 32,488 votes, the two Mostaqbal Watan Party candidates Ahmed Al-Alfi and Osama Radi on 31,578 and 22,972 votes respectively, Congress Party candidate Abdel-Fattah Al-Bahrawi on 27,468 votes and independent candidate Mahmoud Al-Azzab on 24,791 votes. A run-off round, excluding Mansour, is scheduled for 7 and 8 December.

Mansour, who joined parliament for the first time in 2005, is well known for his swipes against public figures. Mansour was joined in parliament by his son Ahmed following the 2015 parliamentary elections. Both have now lost their seats.

Other surprises included Salah Hassaballah, the 2015-2020 Parliamentary Spokesman and Chairman of the Freedom Party, losing in North Cairo’s Shubra constituency, and Hisham Abdel-Wahed, chairman of parliament’s Transport Committee, who failed to retain his seat in Quesna, Menoufiya.

 Nidal Al-Said, deputy chairman of parliament’s Media, Culture and Antiquities Committee, Mohamed Abu Hamed, deputy chairman of the Social Solidarity Committee, Abdel-Hamid Kamal, chairman of the Tagammu Party’s parliamentary group, Osama Abul-Magd, chairman of the parliamentary group of the Guardians of the Nation Party, Medhat Al-Sherif, deputy chairman of parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee and Abdel-Hamid Al-Sheikh, deputy chairman of parliament’s Agriculture Committee, also joined the 40 current MPs who failed to retain their seats.

Meanwhile, leftist MPs affiliated with the so-called 25-30 opposition group managed to qualify for the run-off rounds. They include Mohamed Abdel-Ghani in East Cairo’s Zeitoun, Diaaeddin Dawoud in Damietta, Ahmed Al-Tantawi in Kafr Al-Sheikh and Ahmed Al-Sharqawi in Daqahliya.

Businessmen candidates appeared to do well. Mostaqbal Watan candidates Mohamed Mustafa Al-Sallab and Tarek Shoukri won seats in Nasr City and Heliopolis. Ceramics tycoon Al-Sallab won 91,078 votes, while Shoukri, a real estate developer, won 69,990. Amr Al-Sonbati, chairman of Heliopolis Sporting Club, and independent Samar Fouda, the daughter of late secular thinker Farag Fouda who was assassinated in 1992 by a radical Islamist, both qualified for the run-offs.
Businessman Akmal Qortam, chairman of the Conservatives party, entered the run-off round after securing 24,000 votes in South Cairo’s Basatin and Dar Al-Sallam district. Qortam, chairman of Sahara oil company, will battle it out against two independent candidates: Ali Abdel-Wanees — 21,400 votes — and Khaled Fahmi — 10,600 votes.

Mostaqbal Watan candidate Ashraf Hatem, a former minister of health, won the Cairo downtown seat of Abdine.

NEA head Lasheen Ibrahim announced on Monday that voting took place in 9,468 polling stations and was supervised by 12,000 judges. He said candidates can file complaints over the results on Monday and Tuesday and that the Supreme Administrative Court would assess all petitions by 17 November and deliver rulings between 18 and 27 November.

The NEA has declared semi-official results in nine governorates. Results from North and South Sinai have yet to be tabulated.

Observers said turnout ranged from average to high. In districts like South Cairo’s Asmarat constituency thousands of women and young people could be seen queuing in front of polling stations.

Mahmoud Shaarawi, the minister of local administration, expects the turnout in the second stage to be much higher than the 28 per cent registered in the first stage.

“The ministry’s reports show that despite coronavirus and rainy weather large numbers of citizens turned out, with women among the most keen to exercise their voting rights,” said Shaarawi.


*A version of this article appears in print in the 12 November, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly


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