Parties debate new draft elections law
Egyptian Parliament - YOUM7 (Archive)
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CAIRO: Several parties are debating a proposal for a new electoral law for Egypt’s long-awaited parliamentary elections, amid objections over the government’s newly issued law.

However, the proposal has been criticized by some parties on grounds that it wastes times and may further delay the elections, speculated to be held by the end of the summer.  Supporters of the proposal say that it would better  represent smaller parties in the parliament.

“It would be rather difficult to issue an electoral law that pleases all parties; this is the job of legal experts,” Shehab Wahgih, the Free Egyptians party spokesperson told Youm 7 Sunday.

“Let’s put pressure on the government to announce an exact date for the elections, rather than wasting our time,” he added.

The Salafi Nour Party will hold a board meeting on Tuesday to decide whether to join the talks over the proposal, but its board member Shaaban Abdel Alim told Youm 7 Sunday the initial feedback over it is negative.

Shawky al-Sayed, a board member of Al Harka Al Watanya, ruled out the initiative as distracting, saying “let’s focus only on the elections,” according to Youm7.

Nour Party ranked second in the 2011 parliamentary elections, while Free Egyptians ranked fifth. Al-Harka Al-Watnya was established in 2012 by former presidential Candidate Ahmed Shafiq; many of its members are ex-parliamentarians who belong to influential families and tribes.

The Cabinet’s draft law gives individual candidates the lion’s share with 448 seats, while the list candidates are given 120 seats. Some parties reject this distribution of seats as it gives “popular parties and candidates” a better chance to win the poll.

Parties favoring a new draft elections law

Last week, founder of the Conservatives Party Akmal Qortam urged “influential parties” to discuss the proposal for a new elections law. Nagy al-Shehaby, founder of Generation Party, denied that the discussion is meant to postpone the elections.
“All what we need is to agree on controversial articles within the law in order to submit them to the presidency in the form of protest,” Sehaby said in Press statements last week.

Two weeks ago, the cabinet filed a draft elections law to the State Council for ratification, as an earlier elections law was rejected by the Constitutional Court due to the unconstitutionality of some articles.

The parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held over two phases starting March 22, but the constitutional court ruled some articles of the elections law as unconstitutional a few weeks before the elections.

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