Amwal Al Ghad English - 2015-12-01 07:56:17
Three secular political forces – the Free Egyptians Party, Future of Homeland and the Wafd Party – are expected to win the lion's share of seats in Egypt's new parliament. The three forces, which have so far gained 87 seats in parliament, will have 145 candidates in the run-off round of the second and final stage of the polls, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Sunday, the Higher Election Committee (HEC) announced that 426 independents will be competing for 213 seats in 99 constituencies in the run-off. HEC spokesman Omar Marawan indicated that the run-offs will take place in 13 governorates, with Egyptian expatriate voters to cast their ballots on Monday and Tuesday and domestic voters on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Most experts expect that cold weather and local and international events attracting the attention of voters might contribute to, at best, an average turnout. In the first round, held between 21 and 23 November, the turnout was above average, registering 29.8 percent.
Marawan announced that dozens of appeals contesting the results of the first round in 13 governorates were rejected by administrative courts.
One court, however, cancelled run-off in the Mansoura city constituency, the capital of the Nile Delta governorate of Daqahliya, and ordered a re-run of the first round ballot. The court said that since one disqualified candidate was allowed to join the first round in Mansoura city, the ballot had to be cancelled.
In Mansoura, around 30 individual candidates were competing to fill three seats.
Marawan also said that Ezzat Badawi, a former MP and an independent candidate in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqiya, died on Sunday of a sudden heart attack and will be replaced by Abdel-Hamid Abdel-Gelil, the candidate who came closest to Badawi in terms of the number of votes.
In the first round of the second and final stage of the election, as many as 2,893 competed to fill 222 seats reserved for independents, and 195 competed to fill 60 seats reserved for party-based candidates. The electoral coalition entitled For the Love of Egypt won the 60 seats reserved for party lists, and only nine of the 222 seats reserved for independent candidates were won outright.
"In the run-offs, around 200 of the individual candidates are affiliated with political parties, while 226 are running as 100 percent independent," said Marawan.
According to the National Centre for Research and Consultants (NCRC), an independent Cairo-based NGO, three secular forces will be dominant in the run-off round.
The Free Egyptians Party, founded by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, will have the highest number of candidates in the run-offs, with 52 out of 110 making it to the second round. It is followed by the Future of Homeland with 50 out of 89 candidates.
Forty-three candidates out of 135 affiliated with the Wafd Party, Egypt's oldest liberal party, qualified for the run-off round.
Osama Heikal, a former information minister and an official who won with the For the Love of Egypt coalition, told reporters while visiting parliament on Monday that "the coalition, including the three secular forces, will also coordinate with independents to form the biggest civilian bloc in the coming parliament." More»