An Egyptian soldier cleans the gate of the Egyptian parliament in Cairo January 22, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
The Higher Election Committee announced on Sunday that as many as 7,416 candidates had successfully registered to contest Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections.
"Of these, 4,836 were hoping to stand as independents and 2,580 on party lists," Omar Marawan, the spokesman of the Election Committee, said in a statement. He also indicated that "949 had registered as female candidates."
The 2011-2012 election, which allowed a mix of independent and party list candidates, hit a record number of candidates. A total of 10,251 parliamentary hopefuls stood in the elections at the time; 4,200 of them on party tickets.
Marawan said at least nine electoral coalitions had registered to compete for 120 seats in four party-based constituencies.
These, said Marawan, include the "For the Love of Egypt", Al-Nour, the Egyptian Front, "the Call of Egypt", "the Independence Current, "the Social Justice", "the Knights of Egypt", "the Reawakening of Egypt, and "Long Live Egypt."
The so-called Egyptian Wafd coalition - which includes seven political parties - collapsed after Al-Wafd had opted to merge with the "For the Love of Egypt" electoral coalition.
Bahaa Abu Shoka, secretary-general of Al-Wafd, said "as many as 20 Wafdists will run on the "For the Love of Egypt" lists, while hundreds of other Wafdists will run as independents.
Al-Wafd's decision to join the "For the Love of Egypt" coalition came under scrutiny. The Egyptian Social Democratic Party lashed out at Al-Wafd, accusing its members of seeking their party's own interests only.
"Al-Wafd chose to join a government-backed list at the expense of its liberal principles," said chairman of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party Mohamed Abul-Ghar.
Abul-Ghar said his party decided to join an electoral coalition formed by political activist Abdel-Gelil Mostafa. He also said several members of the party will run as independents.
The final two days of registration in Egypt's parliamentary elections brought several surprises.
A preliminary list shows that candidates from diverse social and economic backgrounds decided to run. Prominent of these are Hafez Abu Siida, chairman of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights; Sama Al-Masry, an actress; Mostafa Kamel, a singer; Fatimah Naout, a literary writer; and Khaled Youssef, a film director.
Meanwhile, the minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ibrahim Al-Heneidy said that "if any articles from the elections laws were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) next Wednesday, the government would move to amend them to go in line with the new constitution."
"The committee which took charge of drafting the texts of election laws will meet to study SCC's ruling and see whether any articles have to be amended or not," said Heneidy.
Mohamed Al-Shennawy, deputy chairman of SCC, also said that "SCC began hearings on five lawsuits filed against the constitutionality of some articles of three election laws."
Al-Shennawi added that a report by SCC's panel of commissioners on Saturday that recommended some articles be ruled unconstitutional is just advisory. "SCC's board could differ with this recommendation or approve it," he said.