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Parties talks over electoral coalitions resume - Daily News Egypt

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Parties talks over electoral coalitions resume

Al-Wafd and For the Love of Egypt stand their grounds, Conference and ESDP mull over position


With the law amended, and despite the parties’ reservations, the election coalition talks continue. (AFP Photo)
With the law amended, and despite the parties’ reservations, the election coalition talks continue.
(AFP Photo)

The parliamentary elections’ coalitions were awaiting the amendment of electoral districts law to restart, as political parties resumed from where they left before postponing the elections.

The “For the Love of Egypt” coalition, which includes 13 parties and number of public figures, maintains its core with no withdrawals in the coalition, except for political activist Hazem Abdel Azim, according to the coalition’s coordinator Tarek Al-Khouly.

Al-Khouly told Daily News Egypt that the coalition, led by former military general Sameh Seif El-Yazal, is content with its current structure, being “the largest coalition”. He added that any future changes to the coalition will be limited to a party’s withdrawal.

The leading liberal Al-Wafd party will take part in the elections among the ranks of “For the Love of Egypt”, according to the leading member of the party Essam Sheha.

Sheha told Daily News Egypt that the party’s decision is final, regardless of any individuals’ objections, as it was made on an “institutional level”.

The Egyptian Social Democratic party (ESDP) did not yet decide on its stance towards participating independently or through coalitions, according to the party’s higher committee member Hossam Mostafa.

Mostafa said that the party is waiting for its head Mohamed Aboul Ghar to return from abroad to discuss the issue.

The Conference Party, founded by Mubarak-era minister and political figure Amr Moussa, who headed the constitution assembly committee, said it will decide over alliances after the amended law is ratified, according to the party’s spokesperson Mohamed Moussa.

However, Mohamed Moussa also said that the party participated in the meeting organised by the Egyptian Front Coalition, led by former presidential elections runner-up Ahmed Shafiq, which witnessed discussion over forming a new electoral alliance to compete in the vote.

Déjà vu

Egypt’s cabinet approved Wednesday the amended electoral districts law. Over the course of three weeks, the committee in charge of amending the parliamentary law, along with the cabinet, organised two meetings for social dialogue with representatives of different political parties.

A number of parties, including the ESDP, the Popular Alliance, Al-Wafd and Al-Karama parties, expressed reservations over the meetings, questioning the government’s seriousness towards the discussion and the parties’ demands.

The main issue from the government’s point of view was the flawed law distributing individual parliamentary seats over electoral districts. The number of elected individual seats in the initial law issued by the President was 420, out of the total 567 seats.

The committee increased those seats to 442, whilst allocating a total of 120 elected seats to the closed-list systems, dividing the country into four main electoral districts.

Unlike the state, political parties saw further problems, which would lead, in their opinion, to an unbalanced and unrepresentative parliament. They argued that this would give less space for political entities to the advantage of powerful and wealthier candidates, mainly politicians from the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Last October, politicians and parties were asked to submit to the cabinet their draft versions of the parliamentary law dividing the country into different constituencies in preparation for the elections. This came after politicians reacted angrily to the passing of the law organising parliamentary elections last June.

In December, 10 political parties agreed on postponing the upcoming parliamentary elections for up to two months to make room for amendments to the elections law to avoid unconstitutionality.

However, the resulting law that was approved back then did not meet the parties’ hopes and demands. A Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruling on 1 March, however, ruled the electoral districts law unconstitutional, resulting in the postponement of parliamentary elections until the questioned law is amended.

With the law amended, and despite the parties’ reservations, the election coalition talks continue. With the vote slated to start before Ramadan, mid-June, as Egypt’s prime minister stated earlier in April.

 

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