For the love of Egypt alliance takes all coalition-based seats in second round of elections

Fri 27 Nov 2015

For the love of Egypt alliance takes all coalition-based seats in second round of elections

On 22 and 23 November the second round of parliamentary elections were held in 13 provinces of Egypt, with a turnout of 29.83%, similar to that of the first round. The ‘For the love of Egypt’ alliance, loyal to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, won all 60 coalition-based seats in the second round of elections, after swooping all available coalition-based seats in the first round of elections as well. Only 9 out of 222 seats assigned for independent candidates were elected, as the remaining seats will be subject to run-offs in early December. In total, 568 members of parliament will be elected during the elections and President al-Sisi will appoint a further 28 MPs. Although the elections were overall calm, irregularities such as vote-buying and bribery were witnessed.

Results
A total of 2893 candidates ran for the 282 seats that were up for voting in the second round of the elections, who in total received almost 8 million valid votes. Two independent candidates backed by the liberal Conference party won two seats, while the Free Egyptians Party said one of its backed independent candidates had won a seat. The Wafd party also reported that one of their backed candidates had won a seat and a further 43 were competing in the run-offs. The Islamist Al-Nour party said at least 10 of its candidates had advanced to the run-offs, as well as 50 candidates of the Future of a Nation party. The full results are expected after the run-offs. The Egyptian Centre for women’s Rights (ECWR) said 19 women are participating in the run-off round, compared to only 8 woman participating in run-offs after the first round of voting. In total 258 woman were running in the second round, amounting to 8.39%. Significantly more woman ran on coalition-based lists, as the 46.6% of them were women. The turnout throughout the country was low, but varied greatly between provinces. In South Sinai and Kafr El-Sheikh around 40% voted, while in Suez and Cairo the turnout did not pass 20%. The turnout of voters outside of Egypt increased from 4.5% in the first round to 21.65% in the second round. According to the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), the turnout in the second round was 16.5%. The low turnout stands in sharp contrast to the 2011 parliamentary elections, when people were lining up for hours to cast their votes.

Violations
According to various observers, vote-buying and bribery were used to manipulate the outcome of the elections. Mohamed El-Shentnawy of the parliamentary observatory mission of the Maat foundation said that “candidates were well prepared for this round. They avoided repeating the mistakes of the first round, and used creative methods of bribery”. Observers reported seeing the distribution of money, food and drinks to voters, as well as the use of vans to advertise candidates and transport voters. The National Council for Human Rights said they recorded 89 violations on the first day of voting. They issued a statement that read "among the most significant violations was the delay in opening many polling stations in different governorates (Cairo, Ismailiya, Qalioubiya, Gharbiya, Kafr El-Sheikh), and there have been 13 complaints about electoral bribes in Cairo, Daqahliya and Gharbiya". The Journalists against Torture Observatory (JATO) said they reported 60 cases of violations against journalists during the second round of elections. The most violations consisted of preventing journalists to properly cover the elections. No official statement has been issued by the Central Election Commission on violations during the elections. The run-offs will take place on 3 December, while full results of the elections are expected on December 20th.