Political Parties Voice Concerns Over Egypt’s Draft Parliamentary Constituencies Law

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Several political parties and forces in Egypt reacted to the new draft law redrawing Egypt’s electoral constituencies issued Tuesday, emphasising the need to verify a balanced and fair representation of seats in proportion to the number of voters in a given electoral district. Otherwise, they say, the legality of the law will be disputed.

According to the draft law of electoral constituencies there will be 231 constituencies reserved ‎to competition among independent candidates. Depending on ‎the number of registered voters within constituency boundaries, ‎this will return between one or two to three representatives. All in all, these constituencies must return 420 independent ‎MPs.‎

Farid Zahran, the leading member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, believes that political forces in Egypt need time to study the law.

“We need to see if there is any kind of imbalance between the number of voters in an electoral district and the new of seats assigned to it. After all, according to that draft, a 221,000-voter constituency will have one MP representing it, just like a 100,000-voter constituency,” he told Ahram Online, adding that in such cases the legality of the law will be disputed.

Zahran is also concerned by the division of administrative regions in the draft law.

“There are certain districts in Egypt with a special administrative nature and population homogeneity that should not be broken up into more than one constituency. I am concerned that the regime is doing that to disperse a vote of a certain candidate,” he said.

“It also can help the other way around, where two districts are merged to help a specific candidate win,” Zahran said.

Ahmed Fawzi, general secretary of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, believes that the current draft law of electoral constituencies alone, and without real reform, will kill parties and political life in Egypt.

“It also paves the way to the return of the Mubarak regime, and its ruling NDP members to return back to the parliament,” Fawzi told Al-Ahram Arabic website.

Salah Hassab-Allah, deputy head of the Conference Party, told Ahram Online that despite the fear of any imbalance in the representation of seats against the number of voters in a given district, he and his party supports the law. He also expressed concerns that the law can be disputed.

“We have decided to accept the current law rather than waiting for months, given the unstable political situation in the Egypt right now,” he said.

ُEgypt’s constitution stipulates electoral constituencies must reflect a fair representation of voters in each instance.

Bahgat El-Hossamy, spokesperson of Al-Wafd Party, also expressed concerns over how the law might be challenged in the case of a disproportionate allocation of seats.

“We also have had concerns over the parliamentary law … regarding the sizeable quota to individual candidates,” he told Ahram Online, adding that the law should have been subject to a national dialogue.

The House of Representatives Law stipulates that Egypt’s new ‎parliament be comprised of 567 seats: 120 for party-based candidates, ‎‎420 for independents, and 27 for presidential appointees.‎

Source : Ahram online

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