CAIRO: Egyptian politicians reacted positively to the Thursday’s announcement of the timeline of country’s parliamentary elections, scheduled to begin on March 21, as some saw it “suitable reflects government’s commitment.”
The announcement to hold the long-awaited elections was seen as an “important and positive step” towards finalizing Egypt’s road map, Secretary General of the Reform and Renaissance Party Amr Nabil was quoted as saying by Youm7 Thursday.
He said that his party has finalized its advertising campaign and ready to receive candidacy applications.
The parliamentary election is the third and final step in a political roadmap announced by the Egyptian army in July 2013 after it has removed former President Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his regime.
Members of several political parties viewed the step as “putting Egypt on a threshold of a new political and stable era days before holding the economic summit,” said member of the Egyptian Front Coalition Ahmed Hosny who believes the step proves the government is truthful and committed to the road map.
While several politicians viewed the time-frame of the parliamentary election as “suitable,” others were concerned with a “time gap” between the election’s first and second rounds.
In a press conference Thursday, the HEC announced that the parliamentary election will be held on two phases; Egyptians in 14 of the country’s 27 provinces will go to the polls on March 22-23 with runoffs scheduled for April 1-2. Others in 13 provinces will vote on April 26-27 with runoffs on May 6-7.
As for Egyptians abroad, the first round will be held on March 21 and the second will be conducted on April 25; both for two successive days.
For Nasser Amin, a human rights expert and manager of the complaints bureau at the National Council for Human Rights said in press statements that there is “unreasonable time gap” between the two rounds of the parliament elections.
Amin said that the gap might lead to unequal opportunities between the candidates. He expressed concerns that the second phase might witness what he called “candidates trying to take advantage to correct the mistakes of the first phase.”
Human Rights Lawyer Negad el-Borai said the almost month-long time gap might open the door for manipulating the elections’ results.
In Friday statements to The Cairo Post, the HEC Spokesperson, Medhat Idris said that the reason for the “time gap” is to give candidates in the two phases equal opportunities in terms of the timeframe of their electoral campaigns.
Idris explained that candidates in each phase must abide by the framework of their electoral campaigns as regulated by the law.
He also said that the results of each round will be declared upon the end of the poll at each phase.
According to the HEC, 60,000 judges will be assigned to monitor the election.
Additional reporting by Ahmed Arafa and Abdel Latif Sobh and Nourhan Magdi