A new Egyptian parliament: End of the election marathon

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 19 Dec 2020

Egypt’s three-month parliamentary campaign has come to an end

End of the election marathon
The election campaign (Photo: Mustafa Emera)

The National Election Authority (NEA) held a press conference on Monday to announce the final results of the two-stage parliamentary elections held from 21 October to 8 December.

Semi-official results released by the NEA showed that the pro-government Mostaqbal Watan Party swept the polls, gaining 314 (53 per cent) out of a total contested 568 seats. Next came the Republican People’s Party with 50 seats; the Wafd Party with 26 seats; the Guardians of the Nation Party with 23 seats; Modern Egypt Party with 11 seats; and the Reform and Development Party with nine seats.

Results also showed that four political parties — the Egyptian Socialist Democratic, the Egyptian Freedom, the Nour, and the Congress — received seven seats each. The leftist Tagammu Party won six seats, the liberal Adl (Justice) two seats and the Will of a Generation one seat.

The new parliament will include representatives from 17 political parties. The majority are pro-government forces supporting the policies of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

As for the opposition, there will be only a few in the new parliament. The leftist 25-30 bloc which was the main opposition force in the outgoing parliament, lost many of its members. Haitham Al-Hariri, the parliamentary spokesman of the bloc, lost his seat in Alexandria. Ahmed Al-Tantawi, the loudest anti-government voice, also lost his seat in Kafr El-Sheikh governorate.

Abdel-Hamid Kamal, another opposition voice who was representing the city of Suez, also failed to retain his seat.

Akmal Qortam, the leader of the opposition Conservatives Party, lost his seat in Cairo’s district of Dar Al-Sallam and Basatin.

The only two 25-30 bloc deputies who retained their seats were Diaaeddin Dawoud and Ahmed Al-Sharkawi, two Nasserist MPs from Damietta and Daqahliya governorates, respectively.

The opposition gained the voice of Mohamed Abdel-Alim, a Wafdist politician and journalist who was highly critical of the former Hosni Mubarak regime in the 2000 and 2010 parliaments.

Mortada Mansour, the controversial lawyer and ousted chairman of Zamalek Sporting Club, will be absent from the coming parliament after he lost the seat of the constituency of the district of Meit Ghamr in the Nile Delta governorate of Daqahliya.

Three journalists joined the new parliament after they won seats in Gharbiya and Kafr El-Sheikh governorates. These include Ahmed Bilal and Mohamed Fayed, two Al-Masry Al-Youm journalists in Gharbiya, and Mohamed Zaki, an Al-Ahram journalist, in Kafr El-Sheikh.

A number of current MPs were able to retain their seats. These included Wahid Qorqor, deputy chairman of the parliament’s Transport Committee, Tharwat Sweilam and Lotfi Shehata, two members of the Sports Committee.

Ilhami Agina, a Sharqiya MP who was rebuked in parliament several times because of remarks about women, lost the seat of Belqas district in Sharqiya governorate.

Meanwhile, businessmen topped the list of winners, including Mohamed Abul-Enein, the Giza MP and owner of the Ceramica Cleopatra Group, Mohamed Al-Sallab, a Heliopolis MP and another ceramics tycoon, and Tarek Shoukri, a real estate developer and Nasr City MP.

Mohamed Al-Sewedi, an electric cables tycoon and a Mostaqbal Watan MP, retained the seat of the constituency of Darb Negm in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqiya. Al-Sewedi is head of parliament’s Industrial Committee.

Amr Al-Sonbati, a businessman and chairman of Heliopolis Sporting Club, won the seat of Cairo’s Nasr City district after beating Samar Fouda, the daughter of the late Islamic research thinker Farag Fouda.

Ashraf Hatem, a former minister of health, owner of a private medical company and a Mostaqbal Watan candidate, won downtown Cairo’s district of Abdine and Zamalek.

In Menoufiya, Karim Al-Sadat, son of former MP Talaat Al-Sadat, a nephew of Egypt’s former president Anwar Al-Sadat, won the seat of the district of Talla.

The new parliament will not differ significantly from the outgoing body. Many high-ranking MPs and committee heads running on the National List coalition were able to retain their seats. These include Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal, his two deputies Mahmoud Al-Sherif and Suleiman Wahdan, and chairman of the Social Solidarity Committee and majority leader Abdel-Hadi Al-Qasabi.

The list of the coalition’s winners also includes Mostaqbal Watan’s deputy chairman and head of parliament’s Sports Committee Ashraf Rashad, second deputy chairman and head of parliament’s Human Rights Committee Alaa Abed, and the party’s parliamentary spokesperson Atef Nasr. The heads of committees on religious affairs, education, telecommunications and information technology, small enterprises and industry all retained their seats.

Many believe that businessmen might be elected chairmen of some committees. While Giza’s businessman Mohamed Abul-Enein is expected to be head of the Industry Committee, Ashraf Hatem, a former health minister, might be elected head of the Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Results show that 567 seats have been filled. The Mostaqbal Watan-led national List coalition had won 284 seats reserved to party lists. Independents and party-based candidates had also won 283 seats reserved to individual seats. One seat, representing the district of Deir Moas in the Upper Egypt governorate of Minya, has yet to be filled.

President Al-Sisi is expected to issue a decree declaring the names of 28 appointees (five per cent) to the new parliament, thus bringing the number of MPs to a total of 596.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 December, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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