Possible absence of small parties in parliamentary elections, coalitions on rise
Egyptian Parliament's headquarter - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Approaching the parliamentary elections, small parties might not be able to take part due to huge expenses of electioneering campaign and newly amended law, member of Socialist Popular Alliance Abdel Ghafar Shukr told Youm7 Wednesday.

A number of politicians expressed their fears of possible absence of weak and low financed parties during the parliamentary elections race. “The current electoral system unfortunately supports the elections with money and tribes and reduces the roles of parties based on programs and policies,” Secretary General of Egypt Freedom Party Shahir George Isaac said.

Salafi Nour Party spokesperson Nader Bakar explained their concerns that the new Parliament Law introduces the return of “political money,” which means that “only those who can pay money will be able to win the elections.”

This new Parliament law allows more number of seats to the single system than the list system. This would result in the election of 120 members using the list system (20 percent) and 480 for the single system (80 percent).

Fear among politicians rose as the possibility of former National Democratic Party (NDP) members and Muslim Brotherhood members participating in the elections increased under the new law.

“This way, there will be no equal opportunities,” Bakar told The Cairo Post on June 13.

Although met with support by human right activists, a court ruling issued in July 15 might allow former NDP members into the parliament caused huge controversy among civil parties. This ruling came to overturn another ruling issued in May to ban all dissolved NDP members from participating in the elections.

NDP was the former ruling party under former President Hosni Mubarak, against whom wide demonstrations broke out during the January 25 Revolution in 2011. The NDP headquarters was burnt down and stormed during the revolution. The party was deemed by a broad spectrum of Egyptians as a corrupted state-affiliated body.

Many political powers considered the ruling as an indication that the former regime, which the January 25 Revolution revolted against, was not actually toppled.

Although former members of the dissolved NDP have the right to run for the parliamentary elections, “the situation will be bad on a political level since we will see a parliament with ‘old faces’ against whom the people revolted,” Dostor Party member Ahmed Bayoumi told El-Badil Tuesday.

The civil powers should seek unity during the elections in order to ban the NDP members from reentering the political scene, member of National Coalition and activist George Isaac told Youm7.

A number of coalitions were recently announced to run for the parliamentary elections, some of them included parties and individuals. Among the declared ones is the Democratic Coalition with seven parties including the Egypt Popular Current, Dostor, Karama, Egyptian Socialist, Justice, Egypt Freedom, Socialist Alliance, and a number of public figures.

Another coalition was announced called the Egyptian Wafd Coalition including Wafd Party, Democratic Egyptian Party, and four other parties.

Some believe that these coalitions are “necessary at the meantime, since many parties are not well known to the public masses,” official Spokesperson for Wafd Party Yasser Hassan told Masr el-Arabiya on June 23.

The civil parties have no choice but enter the electoral coalitions, Tagammu Party member Magdy Sharabya told Masr el-Arabiya; “If the civil current was absent in the rising electoral coalition, the religious state will return back as before June 30.”

The announced electoral coalitions included both parties and individuals where the representatives of the lists will support individuals of the same parties merged to the coalition, according to El-Badil.

Additional reporting by Mostafa Abdel Tawab, Ahmed Arafa, and Zaki el-Qady.

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