The National Election Authority (NEA) Chairman Walid Hamza said this week that the NEA would hold an “international press conference soon” to announce the timeline for the 2024 presidential election.
In a statement released on 24 August, the NEA’s board said that it had convened a meeting to finalise presidential election procedures, ensure the necessary logistics are in place and polling stations ready to receive voters. The NEA has signed a protocol of cooperation with the National Mail Authority which will be responsible for finalising logistical groundwork.
The NEA will set the dates for the election according to articles 140 and 142 of the constitution.. Article 140 stipulates that the process to elect a new president must begin at least 120 days before the end of the current presidential term, meaning the process must begin by 1 December 2023 at the latest, and that the results be announced within 30 days before the end of term; Article 142 requires the presidential candidate to secure endorsements from 20 MPs or 25,000 registered voters spread across at least 15 governorates, with a minimum of 1,000 endorsements from each governorate.
The NEA is open to receiving requests from civil society organisations and local and foreign media to monitor and cover the election. “The authority urges the public and media outlets to conduct themselves responsibly and not to report inaccurate news. The NEA is the sole source of official information on elections in Egypt,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, several political parties have announced their support for President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi’s expected bid to secure a third term. The charge was led by the pro-government Mostaqbal Watan and the Free Egyptians parties.
President Al-Sisi is expected to submit his bid after the NEA announces the election timetable and opens the door for candidate registration. He was first elected president in May 2014, then re-elected in June 2018.
A 2019 amendment to Article 140 extended the presidential term from four to six years, allowing Al-Sisi, whose current term ends in 2024, to stand for another six-year term in office, ending in 2030.
Mostaqbal Watan, the first party to give its backing to President Al-Sisi should he decide to run, said on 23 August that the president must be allowed “to complete the successful march towards comprehensive development in Egypt”.
“Under President Al-Sisi’s leadership, and with the steadfastness of the Egyptian people, the military, and security forces, Egypt has been able to defeat terrorism, achieve security, and progress politically and economically.”
“President Al-Sisi is a great leader who has won popularity in recent years. Under President Al-Sisi’s leadership, Egypt has become an influential country in the Arab world, Africa, and the Middle East,” said Mostaqbal Watan’s leader Ashraf Rashad.
Senator Hossam Al-Khouli, Mostaqbal Watan deputy chairman, said the party would mobilise across Egypt to support Al-Sisi’s presidential campaign.
Mostaqbal Watan holds 315 of the 596 seats in the House of Representatives and 153 of the 300 seats in the Senate. The party also has the largest nationwide network of offices of any political party.
In television remarks on Saturday, Free Egyptians party leader Essam Khalil announced his support for Al-Sisi, saying the party would “form an operation room to actively campaign for the president.”
Meanwhile, Humat Watan (Protectors of the Nation) Party announced that it would not be fielding a presidential candidate and instead declared its support for President Al-Sisi. It was joined by the Congress, Arab Nasserists, Misr-October, National Movement and Ghad (Tomorrow) parties, bringing the number of political blocs backing Al-Sisi to eight.
Magdi Morshed, deputy chairman of the Congress party, said the decision to support Al-Sisi had been made to preserve political stability “in a region plagued with internal strife and civil wars”.
Other political parties have indicated they will field presidential candidates.
Mohamed Abu Himila, secretary-general of the People’s Republican Party, announced that its chairman Hazem Omar will stand.
“We are drafting the platform which will be used during our presidential election campaign, and we will be the first to register once registration opens,” said Abu Himila.
On 23 August, the liberal Wafd party announced that its chairman Abdel-Sanad Yamama would be its candidate in the 2024 presidential election. Yamama said a detailed election platform will be announced once the election campaign kicks off.
“Egypt is experiencing a severe economic crisis and we need a united salvation front, including experts and professionals who can introduce a new package of reforms, to solve the country’s problems,” said Yamama.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 31 August, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly