Thursday, 17 July 2014
Preparations for parliamentary elections begin in Egypt
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree on Tuesday 15 July creating an electoral commission to oversee the upcoming parliamentary elections. This is in keeping with his statement last month indicating that the procedures for parliamentary elections, the first step of which is the appointment of an electoral commission, would take place before 18 July.
The commission will be formed of the head of the Court of Appeals and the eldest members of the Court of Cassation. Its formation indicates that we should expect to hear an announcement regarding the timing of elections in the next week or two.
The vote is still expected to be held in mid to late-September, as the government is keen on completing a full transition to an elected government and it is very likely that several draft laws are being held up until a parliament is in place to approve them.
In a development that could have a significant impact on the shape of the next parliament, the Cairo Court of Appeals has overturned a ban placed on members of the now defunct National Democratic Party (NDP), which had been headed by former president Hosni Mubarak, from participating in political life.
The new ruling means that any former NDP member of parliament may run again in the next election cycle (those convicted of crimes in the last three years will still be banned from running), and it is particularly significant given that the new parliamentary electoral law, which has been heavily criticised by the country’s political parties, heavily favours individual candidate districts.
Former members of parliament will now find it easier to run in the constituencies they had once held, as they will not be required to join a political party (most of whom have shunned former NDP members) to compete in individual districts.
It should be noted that while previous bans failed to prevent many NDP members from running in the 2011 parliamentary elections, they performed poorly against Muslim Brotherhood candidates, who have been banned from taking part in political life.
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