Archive for parliamentary election

 

Tensions are growing between the Salafi Nour Party and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party as the two groups dispute which voting system to adopt for the upcoming parliamentary election.

While the Nour Party has allied itself with liberal groups that support a list-based candidacy system, the FJP is calling for single-seat nominations.

Younis Makhyoun, a member of the Nour Party’s supreme board as well as the Constituent Assembly, said that the majority of political groups agree with his party.  He told Al-Masry Al-Youm that if the FJP does not back down at a meeting on the issue scheduled for Tuesday, then the Constituent Assembly will decide the matter with a vote.

The FJP prefers the single-seat system due to their expertise in garnering votes for their candidates, Makhyoun said. He claimed that the list-based system would staunch vote-buying and enable independent candidates to form electoral groups.

The Nour Party plans to participate in the parliamentary elections on a list separate from the FJP.

"We will not ally with the Brotherhood, but rather with Salafi parties whose platforms conform with ours,” Makhyoun said.

Mohamed Abdallah Sayyaf, an official at the Muslim Brotherhood's Beni Suef office, said the FJP is split in regards to which electoral system to support. However, Sayyaf said that he personally supports the single-seat system as it better suits Egypt’s fragile political landscape.

A mixed candidacy system was utilized during the last parliamentary elections that ended in March. But a Supreme Constitutional Court ruling in June dissolved the People’s Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, over the unconstitutionality of parts of the election law that allowed partisan runners to vie for seats allocated for independents.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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Members of the Constituent Assembly are split over which parliamentary election system to adopt in the country's new constitution, which is expected to be finished before the end of this year.

During a session by the Constituent Assembly's Electoral Systems Committee held at the People’s Assembly on Tuesday, the Salafi Nour Party and a number of secularist parties agreed to back the list-based candidacy system for the next legislative elections. But Muslim Brotherhood members leaned towards the single-winner system.

"Egyptians had been used to the individual system, but personally, I [would] go for proportional lists. An individual system may waste 45 percent of votes if 51 percent [go] for a certain candidate," Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan said during the meeting.

"Electoral lists will not be suitable for the current stage, a mixed election system is the most adequate for Egypt, and the distribution of seats for each system shall be done through agreement between political parties and should enjoy public approval," he added, stressing that the new election law should enable non-partisan candidates to form electoral lists and partisan candidates to compete for individual seats.

But Bassam al-Zarqa, a member of the Nour Party's supreme board and an adviser to President Mohamed Morsy, said he preferred the list-based system. Other members agreed with him, including Ghad al-Thawra Party chairman Ayman Nour and Egyptian Social Democratic Party board member Fardi Zahran.

Alaa Qutb, another assembly member, objected to adopting a mixed electoral system as well as maintaining the 50 percent quota of seats that had long been reserved for workers and farmers.

Egypt had adopted a mixed electoral system for the last parliamentary polls, which ended last March. But a ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court in June, upheld by the Supreme Administrative Court last month, dissolved the People’s Assembly over the unconstitutionality of parts of its election law that enabled partisan candidates to vie for seats allocated for independents.

After former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, the political parties, along with the then-ruling  decided on a complex electoral system in which two-thirds of Parliament seats are filled by voter list candidates, with the remaining seats allocated for independent candidates. The result was an Islamist-dominated Parliament where the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative Nour Party winning nearly two-thirds of the seats.

But last June, Egypt's Constitutional Court ruled that a third of the seats were unconstitutional.

In the previous five parliamentary elections under Mubarak, the electoral system was based on individual candidates only, a strategy that commentators said that it helped the former regime dominate the Parliament.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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Liberals and leftist powers and parties plan to unite in a new electoral alliance to face Islamists in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The proposed coalition would comprise the Third Current, a coalition of activists and politicians; the Popular Current, led by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi; and the Constitution Party, led by Mohamed ElBaradei.

Representatives from both the Third Current and the Popular Current held a closed meeting Saturday at Center for Leadership Development to discuss forming a new alliance.

Law professor Hossam Eissa, Constitution Party leader George Ishaq, Lawyers Syndicate president Sameh Ashour, director Khaled Youssef and journalist Abdel Halim Qandil all attended the meeting.

Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, the head of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, said that the meeting lasted for three hours.

Shokr said that the attending powers refused to be named “civil forces,” and decided to present themselves as “national forces” to avoid conflict with Islamist movements.

Mohamed Samy, head of the Nasserist Karama Party, said that representatives of the three movements would hold another meeting by Tuesday to define a general framework for the new alliance, likely to be named the National Alliance.

No official spokesperson for the new alliance has been chosen.

Co-founder of Constitution Party Ahmed Darag said that the party will be part of the new alliance, pointing out that the meeting came in response to the call of acclaimed surgeon Mohamed Ghoneim to unify non-Islamist civil forces.

Hamdeen Sabbahi, former presidential candidate and founder of the Popular Current, noted the need to unite revolutionary forces in a single entity. He also underlined the importance of building a political front to gain the trust of citizens and participate in the parliamentary elections on consolidated lists. He said that the new alliance could be widened.

In the same context, representatives of 29 political parties and movements in Alexandria announced the establishment of the Democratic Civilian Current Saturday.

A number of the founders of the new coalition said that they aim to unite all civil forces in Alexandria, Beheira, Kafr al-Sheikh and Matrouh, to take part in the next parliamentary elections as one entity.

The group announced the establishment of the coalition in front of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

They stressed that they seek to “find a civilian counterpart [to face] the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the religious currents in general.”

One of the founders, Abul Ezz al-Hariry, said, “The civil current in Egypt is the one that carried out the struggle, and has the most credit for the January 25 revolution.”

Hariry accused the dissolved National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood of keeping Egypt down, and characterized the current Morsy government as similar to that of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

On the other hand, a number of parties will hold an expanded meeting Monday at the invitation of the Egyptian Citizen and Freedom parties. The meeting will include a workshop to develop a vision for the new parliamentary election law, and a mechanism of forming alliances to confront Islamist movements in the upcoming elections.

Previous attempts by liberal and leftist parties to coalesce ahead of the November 2011 parliamentary elections did not result in a unified coalition, with two main groups working in the Egyptian Bloc and The Revolution Continues Coalition lists. 

The Muslim Brotherhood-led list took over 40 percent of Parliament, which was later dissolved after a court ruling ruled the parliamentary election law unconstitutional. 

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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