For the Love of Egypt alliance big winner in the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, amid low turnout

Thu 22 Oct 2015

 For the Love of Egypt alliance big winner in the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, amid low turnout

The turnout in the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections held from 18  to 19  October was low as only 26.56% of voters cast their ballots. Of the 284 seats in parliament that are elected in the first round, 60 were assigned to candidates on coalition-based lists and 224 to independent candidates. The  pro-Sisi “For the Love of Egypt” coalition managed to win all 60 coalition seats, as it won 45 seats in Giza and Upper Egypt and 15 seats in West Delta. The coalition had no independent candidates. Only 4 out of the 224 independent candidates managed to be elected directly into parliament, as they received more than 50% of the votes in their constituencies. The other 220 seats will be elected in a run-off round in 103 constituencies 27 and 28 October.

Results

The final result of the first round will be announced after the run-off round has taken place, as 224 candidates representing 13 different parties and 212 independent candidates will be competing. 65 independent candidates endorsed by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris’ Free Egyptians Party managed to qualify, as well as 48 candidates fielded by the pro-Sisi Future of the Homeland party. In third came the liberal Wafd party, who backed 35 independent candidates that qualified. The Salafist Nour party, that was targeted by the "No to Religious Parties" campaign, endorsed 25 independent candidates that qualified. Nour lost the only party list it contested in Nile West Delta. The Egyptian Social Democratic party (ESDP) managed to get 5 of its candidates into the run-offs. Other leftist parties Tagamou Party, Socialist ‎Alliance and the Nasserist Karama Party managed to get any candidates into the runoffs.

Low Turnout

During the last parliamentary elections, in 2012, the turnout in the first round was 59%. According to some, Egyptians have becorenme indifferent to politics. Founder of the Free Egyptians Party Naguib Sawiri said that when people get a day off to vote they “prefer to go to the North Coast”. According to political scientist Mostafa Kamel El-Sayed there is “no real competition because most of the candidates are in a race to show their support and loyalty to President El-Sisi”, meaning that there “are no real political platforms that can be appealing to the voters”. Mainly elderly people voted, while mostly young people declined to vote.  They are “not interested because they were promised more jobs and better incomes, but nothing happened”, according to El-Sayed.

Violations


The African Union commission that observed the elections stated that despite violations “the overall picture we are convinced of is that the elections were held in an environment that was peaceful, and in a manner that was orderly and that they were credible and transparent". The cabinet's control room, formed to observe the elections, said that they received 15 complaints and found 31 violations. Various political parties reported on electoral bribes. According to the ESDP “Alexandria and Assiut witnessed the highest rates in bribes”, amounting to 50 EGP (5.5 Euro). Some clashes between supporters of various parties were reported, but overall the elections were peacefull. The next rounds of the elections will be held between 21 November and 2 December.