BEIRUT

Middle East

Egypt parliamentary elections to start on Nov. 28: report

CAIRO: Egypt’s parliamentary election, the first since a popular revolt ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February, will start on Nov. 28, the official MENA news agency reported Tuesday.

“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has set Nov. 28 as the start of the first stage of the parliamentary election, which will be held over three rounds,” it reported.

Senate elections would follow starting on Jan. 29 next year, the agency quoted a military official as saying.

The second round of the parliamentary polls would be held on Dec. 14, the third on Jan. 3, and the assembly was scheduled to convene on March 17.

The announcement comes after the caretaker Cabinet voted on amending a contentious law under which two-thirds of parliament is to be elected through a proportional representation system and the rest via a simple majority. Only independent candidates are eligible to run for the simple majority seats, according to the Cabinet’s website.

More than two dozen political parties have rejected the electoral law, saying it could help return old regime figures to parliament.

They demand a pure proportional representation system and the activation of a law that would ban corrupt politicians from running for office.

The military, which took charge of the country after Mubarak’s ouster, suspended parliament in February.

The house, which will be reduced from 508 to 498 seats, was dominated by members of Mubarak’s now dissolved National Democratic Party after a controversial election in November that wiped out opposition candidates.

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, the most influential opposition movement under Mubarak, will contest roughly half of parliament’s seats in the coming election through its Freedom and Justice Party.

The party has warned against any delay in the election, which secular groups have advocated because they fear the better-organized Islamist parties will snap up the seats.

Dozens of parties, ranging from hard-line Islamist to liberal, have sprung up after Mubarak’s resignation on Feb. 11.

One of the parties granted official status by a government committee was founded by Hossam Badrawi, the last secretary-general of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party. Badrawi resigned a day before Mubarak stepped down.

Following the parliamentary and senate election, which is expected to end in March, a committee will draft a new constitution to replace Mubarak’s and then presidential elections will be held.

The committee has up to six months to finish its work, meaning the presidential election might not be held until the end of August.

The military had promised that it would not conduct the election under a state of emergency, which was widened in scope this month after protesters ransacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo and clashed with police.

But a military official told state media later the emergency law could stay in place until mid-2012, although the military wanted to end the state of emergency as soon as possible. 

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 28, 2011, on page 8.

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