CAIRO: Shoura Council Speaker Safwat El-Sherif hailed the results of last week’s mid-term elections as an expected win for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), according to an online news portal.
El-Sherif, who is also secretary general of the NDP, lauded the unprecedented success of opposition candidates in securing seats in the council, suggesting that their participation will have a positive effect on upcoming elections, reported Masrawy.com.
“Neither the NDP nor the opposition won the Shoura elections. All the NDP did was elect and fail whomever they chose to,” Gamal Zahran, independent People’s Assembly member, told Daily News Egypt.
“The elections are a terrible lead up to the next parliamentary elections; it mirrors the both NDP’s monopoly over the votes and the extent to which voters are isolated from the election process,” Zahran added, referring to elections of the lower house slated for the fall.
Similarly, MP Akram Shaer of the Muslim Brotherhood said, “It was a process of choosing not electing; the elections were staged and voters pushed out of the equation.”
Both Zahran and Shaer agreed that a judicial overview of elections is necessary to ensure accurate results.
Meanwhile, head of the Democratic Front Party (DFP) Osama Al-Ghazali Harb called on opposition parties to boycott People’s Assembly elections slated for the fall in reaction to the NDP’s sweeping win last week, which he alleges was marred by thuggery and violence.
“I think that DFP took the right decision by not participating in these staged elections where the opposition only ended up with crumbs. I don’t understand what Al-Wafd, Al-Tagammu and Al-Ghad parties gained from legitimizing an election that clearly lacks legitimacy,” Harb was quoted as saying in Masrawy.
Supreme Electoral Commission Chairman Intissar Nassim announced Thursday that the NDP won 60 out of a total 74 seats, an outcome several opposition members deemed illegitimate.
While only four seats went to the opposition Al-Tagammu, Al-Geel, Al-Ghad, and the Nasserist parties, an additional 14 NDP candidates won by acclamation.
A run-off scheduled for Tuesday will see 11 NDP members and nine independent members compete over 10 seats in five governorates.
According to El-Sherif, opposition members knew that their chance in garnering votes was slim, especially in constituencies where the NDP cast a strong presence.
He blamed their loss on the absence of a clear program and their dependency on mottos he claimed no longer have an effect on voters.
The elections commission headed by Nassim put participation levels at 30 percent while the Egyptian Association for Human Rights put it at 5 percent.
During last week’s elections, 15 members of the MB, a banned group that constitutes Egypt’s largest opposition, ran as independent candidates without winning any seats.
MB and NDP members accused each other of committing violations.
Some 439 candidates vied for 74 seats in 55 constituencies in all governorates except for Ismailia and New Valley.
“It seems like the government is dividing the Muslim Brotherhood seats among opposition members,” said Harb.
On Harb’s call for a boycott, Zahran said that it will only be effective if all opposition parties agreed to adopt it.
“It is a good option, but it has to come from all [opposition] sides,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shaer said that boycotting elections in the past has proven ineffective.
“At the end, some opposition parties will get a quota to fill in the remaining seats,” he said.
He explained that when parliamentarians are appointed instead of being elected, “the public’s wellbeing is endangered.”
Currently, both the MB and Al-Wafd parties have announced that they will run for elections next fall.