On June 18, 2012 in Cairo, the supporters of Mohamend Morsi rejoice for the victory of Muslim Brothers’ candidate in the second round of Egyptian presidential elections, which took place in the midst of fierce controversy and accusations of fraud. He becomes the first president who takes this post as a result of democratic elections, after the so-called Arab spring. But Egypt is unstable. He had stayed in charge for about a year, until July 3, 2013, when he was deposited by a military coup.
Now, after more than three years without a Parliament, the country is back to the polls to elect the new members. On October 18 and October 19 will take place the first round. On November 22 and November 23, the second one. Those are the first parliamentary elections since the president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took charge after the presidential elections held last May (from 26th through 28th). Al-Sisi, independent and former commander-in-chief of the Egyptian armed forces and President of the Supreme Council of the armed forces, defeated Hamdin who was supported by the Egyptian popular movement.
There are seven lists running for the current elections. ‘For the love of Egypt’ is the coalition coordinated by Sameh Seif El-Yazal, a former official of the Egyptian intelligence service, a security expert and the president of Gomhouria Center for Political and Strategic Studies. The coalition is considered to be supported by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, even if the president has publicly stated that he does not support any electoral block. There are ten parties in this coalition, including the Liberal Party Al Wafd, the Future of the Nation, the Egyptian Free Party, that of the Conservatives, and the Reform and Development Party. Among the candidates there are journalists, businessmen, former judges, and former government ministers. Among them there is the former minister and football icon Akmal Qortam, the former Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Orabi and the former Coptic parliament member, Emad Gad. The program touches on State security, the restoration of stability, development of projects in Cairo and in Upper Egypt.
A second list is formed by the coalition between the ‘Egyptian Front’ and the ‘Independent movement’. The coalition is led by the former premier Ahmed Shafik, who is currently living in the Emirates “for security reasons” and who in 2012 had presented his candidature at the presidential elections, finally won by Mohammed Morsi. The coalition is considered to be close to Hosni Mubarak’s deposed regime. It supports a hard line against Muslim Brothers and opposes giving political rights to all religious parties. Among the candidates there are the former governor of Helwan Qadri, Abu-Hussein, the former minister of Irrigation Mohamed Nasr Allam and the former governor of Minya Samir Sallam. The first goal of this coalition is to amend the Constitution adopted in 2014.
The ‘Knights of Egypt’ instead, is a party led by the general Abdel-Rafe Darwish, founded in January of 2014. Its members are mainly retired military men who support the president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. By adopting a low profile, the party’s program focuses on issues such as social justice, education, and technical plans for the development of agriculture. Besides, its candidates have adopted a religious character talking about fight against terrorism.
The ‘Independent Block of National Awakening’ is guided by the sufi Sheikh Mohamed El-Assouani. It is a self-proclaimed Sufi coalition, which seeks to represent all Egyptians, but especially those from Upper Egypt. It expresses the complete rejection of the Muslim Brothers’ rhetoric. It is composed of parties, but by candidates known mainly in Upper Egypt, such as George Kelada, president of the Egyptians Association in Italy, and Iman Ali Yehia Dean from the women faculty of the University of al-Azhar to Beni Suef. Their official goal is an attempt to represent all the factions of the Egyptian society inside the Parliament and promotion of development projects in Upper Egypt.
The Salafist party ‘al-Nour’, led by Younis Makhioun, is the only Islamic party running for the Egyptian parliamentary elections. The party was born in the aftermath of the January 25, 2011 revolution against Hosni Mubarak and is based on the principles of the Islamic Sharia law. After Morsi’s deposition, al-Nour took distances from the Muslim Brothers’ rhetoric. The Salafist party has expressed its full support of the political road map drafted after Morsi’s deposition as well as to the president at-Sisi. Among the candidates does not appear the leader of the party, Makhyoun, but his young spokesman Nader Bakkar, currently in US where he is pursuing a masters at Harvard. Among the candidates there are also two Copts. Al-Nour’s goal is participation in the political life of Egypt, working for the stability and cohesion of the various components of its society.
“Call of Egypt’, founded in December 2014 and led by Hisham Anany is a coalition that includes 17 political parties and youth movements. Among its members there is the former minister of justice Adel Abdel Hamid. A priority of their election program is fight against poverty, corruption, and unemployment.
The lists of candidates are completed by the ‘Republican Alliance of Social Forces’ led by the former Vice-president of the Egyptian Constitutional Court, Tahany El-Gebaly. About half of its candidates are women and there are no political parties. The goal of the list is supporting young people and women, and the creation of what they described as ‘the Third Republic’. Among the points of the program there are: improvement of health and education in the electoral district where it presented its candidature, namely that of Cairo and southern and central Delta.
Egypt is trying to rebuild itself, not only economically, looking for a “pharaoh” who will not bring the glories of the past, but at least will be able to give Ramses’ land political and social stability and look to look towards future with optimism.