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Egypt Readies Long-delayed Parliamentary Poll

  • Heather Murdock

FILE - Workers clean inside the Egyptian parliament in Cairo, Egypt, July 9, 2012.

FILE - Workers clean inside the Egyptian parliament in Cairo, Egypt, July 9, 2012.

Egypt plans to hold its long-delayed parliamentary elections in October and November this year, after more than three years without a legislative branch.

Analysts say the new parliament may help restore some of Egypt’s credibility internationally, but it may be able to do little to improve the lives of people at home.

Chairman of the High Electoral Committee Chancellor Ayman Abbas says the elections will begin October 18 and conclude after two, two-day phases on November 23.

He warns future parliamentary candidates against inciting violence, or attempting to rig the elections.

The new legislative body will make the government appear more legitimate to international investors, says political sociologist Said Sadek. But, he says, with more than 100 political parties and many new rules in place, it may be a long time before it makes substantial accomplishments.

“It’s a huge parliament. It’s the biggest in Egyptian history, 596 members. We never had such a big parliament,” he said.

Currently, laws in Egypt are passed by the decree of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, including a new anti-terrorism law two weeks ago that has drawn criticism from human rights groups that say it will be used to quiet opponents and the press.

Egypt has been without a parliament since June 2012 when a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament dissolved. The upcoming elections were delayed from March for technical and legal reasons.

But some analysts say the real reason for the delay was so the government could beat the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, and ensure its supporters don’t win seats in the new house.

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