Initial Reading of the Egyptian Elections

The first stage of the Egyptian parliamentary elections has been an expected success for the Muslim Brotherhood, a surprising advance for Salafis and a historical defeat for the Wafd Party as well as a collapse for the formations that came from the National Party, which had dominated political life.

The first stage of the Egyptian parliamentary elections was launched on 28-29 June November. It was conducted in nine of Egypt's governorates, including the two most heavily populated governorates, Cairo (east of Greater Cairo) and Alexandria. The initial numbers of the Supreme Electoral Commission indicated that about eight and a half million Egyptians cast their votes from a total of seventeen million registered voters. The voters turn out was the highest it had been in over sixty years, constituting of 52 percent. However, more than half a million votes have been annulled for one reason or another, including complications of the electoral process, the large number of competing lists, and the even larger number of candidates running for individual seats.

The elections were conducted in accordance with a law that granted 75 percent of the next People's Assembly's seats (i.e. 498) to lists of party coalitions and 25 percent to individuals. The country has therefore been divided into different circles, larger circles for lists and smaller ones for individuals. Since the vast majority of individual seats have not been settled in the first round, a recount was conducted among the two candidates that acquired the most votes a week after the first round.

Although the electoral process was fair and transparent to a reasonable extent, it was marred by numerous shortcomings whether from the candidates, some of whom continued to campaign until election day, or from the Supreme Electoral Commission, which lacks the experience required to administer such an immense electoral process as that of Egypt. Perhaps money was used by some party forces, especially in rural poor urban areas. Regarding the party-list elections in particular, there was no sufficient supervision for the process of vote counting and the transmittance of the vote count from substations to the centre.

These shortcomings led to the issuance of a court rule cancelling the whole electoral process in the Cairo coastal department, which is considered of the greater departments in the capital, a department in Alexandria, and two others in Asyut. The elections were expected to be cancelled in other departments in Alexandria and Asyut as well; and this is what renders the results of this stage of elections provisional as the resumption of elections in cancelled departments is awaited.